News round-up 30/10: Crime prevention budgets cut 60%
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Spending on crime prevention work – including street lights, closed-circuit television and police visits to schools – has been slashed by almost 60% because of Government austerity measures, reports the Independent.
The budget fell from £61m two years ago to £24.6m in 2012-13, the paper’s analysis of Home Office figures shows. The cash is intended to tackle the fear of crime and its causes.
Some of the biggest cutbacks took place in Birmingham (down from £1.55m to £626,000), Manchester (down from £1.03m to £416,000) and Leeds (down from £1.19m to £479,000).
Responsibility for crime prevention work will be passed to the new Police and Crime Commissioners, who will be elected in public ballots next month.
Lord Heseltine will “inject fresh energy” into Britain’s regional economic policy but is bound to cause controversy, according to the Financial Times. In his government-commissioned report, the Conservative peer is expected to recommend a significant strengthening of England’s 39 local enterprise partnerships and argue for a bigger role for business leaders and chambers of commerce in setting policy and deciding how money is spent.
Cutting child benefit for middle-class parents could be illegal as it breaks European laws by discriminating against Britons, reports the Daily Telegraph.The Chartered Institute of Accountants in England and Wales said people affected by the changes could challenge decisions to remove the benefit.
A Government spokesperson says it was “clear that this legislation is fully compliant with EU law”.
Department for Transport officials were found to have “ploughed ahead” with the award of the West Coast main line franchise despite being aware of problems that made a legal challenge likely, reports the Guardian
The initial findings of an independent inquiry into the fiasco surrounding its decision to award the contract to FirstGroup found the department had “breached its own guidelines” and “treated FirstGroup and Virgin differently”, the paper says.
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