News round-up 25/10: Police reform architect speaks
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
The architect of the government’s policing reforms has blamed politicians for failing to sell the idea of elected police commissioners to the public, the Times reports. However, in his first interview, Lord Wasserman – David Cameron’s personal policing adviser – said that voters would only have themselves to blame if they rejected the chance to vote on local policing. “We can do no more than give people the right to vote,” he said. “They’re given a completely free vote. If they want to sit on their hands and not come out to vote and leave it to a handful of people – that’s up to them… [but] they’ll be kicking themselves that they allowed John Prescott to win in Humberside as opposed to someone else.”
A report published this summer by Louise Casey, the government’s troubled families tsar, on the scale and nature of dysfunctional households broke a number of ethical guidelines laid down by ministers to protect vulnerable individuals from being harmed or exploited by researchers, the Guardian reports. Ms Casey did not “seek or obtain ethical approval” from families interviewed in the report, a lecturer from the University of Glasgow has claimed.
George Osborne has seized on news that the economy has emerged from double-dip recession, growing by 1% in the third quarter of 2012, as evidence that his policies have put Britain “on the right track”, the Guardian reports. The figures, announced by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday, mean the chancellor will be able to deliver his autumn statement on 5 December against the background of an economy that has returned to growth. “There is still a long way to go, but these figures show we are on the right track. This is another sign that the economy is healing and we have the right approach,” the chancellor said.
Lord Bichard has provoked uproar by suggesting the retired should be encouraged to undertake community service – or have their pensions docked, the Independent reports. The former council chief executive and Whitehall mandarin said older people had to make “a more positive contribution” to reduce the burden they place on the state. He made the comments during a session of committee investigating the impact on public services of an ageing population. He asked fellow members: “Are there ways in which we could use incentives to encourage older people, if not to be in full time work, to be making a contribution?”
David Cameron has expressed fears that major capital projects are being held back due to a fear of official inquiries and over-cautious civil servants, the Guardian reports. The comments from the prime minister’s spokesman follow education secretary Michael Gove describing auditors at the National Audit Office and the public accounts committee as part of the “forces of conservatism”.
Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith will today warn that the welfare system is “promoting destructive behaviour” by encouraging poorer families to have more children, the Daily Telegraph leads with. In his first major speech since announcing that another £10bn will be saved from benefits, Mr Duncan Smith will say that the system needs to return to the principles of William Beveridge.
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