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In brief

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Tram expansion

Manchester’s tram network is set for a£382m expansion by 2012, transport secretary Ruth Kelly has announced. In the next four years the Manchester’s Metrolink will be extended to Oldham, Rochdale and Chorlton as part of the planned increase. The government has pledged£244m towards the total cost of the scheme. The additional£138m cost of the programme will be funded by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive.

Minority taskforce

The government has launched a new taskforce to persuade more black and ethnic minority women to become councillors. It will be chaired by Baroness Uddin, the first Muslim woman in the House of Lords. Only 168 of 20,000 councillors across the country are black, Asian or ethnic minority women.

Fraud initiative

The Audit Commission’s National Fraud Initiative has uncovered a record£140m in fraud and overpayments for 2006-07 a 26% rise on the previous year. The NFI is calling on the public sector to devote more resources to using NFI information to track down fraud after identifying£450m in fraud and overpayment since it started in 1996.

CIH debate forum

The Chartered Institute of Housing has opened an online debating forum for housing practitioners and tenants this week. Views expressed on the forum will also feed into the government’s review of local authority house financing. The discussion site is open for everyone to add their opinions at http://moodle20.cih.co.uk.

Partnership map

The Government Office Network, the Local Government Association and the Cabinet Office’s Social Exclusion Task Force have called for information on partnership initiatives targeted at supporting families in areas with high unemployment and deprivation. The information will be used to shape a research project designed to build a map of partnership initiatives and case studies.

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