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LGC NEWS BRIEFS

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London mayor Ken Livingstone has lent his backing to a call from Westminster City Council for an independent review...
London mayor Ken Livingstone has lent his backing to a call from Westminster City Council for an independent review of the 2001 census figures in the borough (LGC, 8 November). Mr Livingstone said he had 'concerns' about the census in central London.

Scottish councils are calling for a permissive power to charge full council tax on second homes.

Councils were last month given the power to reduce the council tax discount for second homeowners in England and Wales, from 50% to 10%.

John Pentland (Lab), finance spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, said: 'We welcome the Executive's consultation and look forward to a positive outcome.'

The first hospital to be built in Wales with private finance has been opened by health minister Jane Hutt.

The£64m facility at Baglan Moors, near Port Talbot, took 18 months to complete. The final cost of the hospital over its 27-year lease is expected to reach over£270m.

The education attainments of children looked after by councils is as much

a concern for central as for local government, according to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

COSLA social work spokesman Ronnie McColl (SNP) said: 'The cycle

of poverty that results in failing children becoming failing adults and having failing children can only be broken by ministers in the Scottish Executive working together with us

in local government across the whole range of portfolios.'

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