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LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS IN TODAY'S PRESS

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A Guardian special report raises new questions about social service departments' ability to distinguish between chi...
A Guardian special report raises new questions about social service departments' ability to distinguish between child and adult refugees.

The paper focuses on the case of two Afghan boys who claim to be 13 but were judged by a Birmingham City council to be aged 16. 'With no one to look after them they get by on a diet of oven chips, tinned tomatoes and ice cream,' the report states.

Kingston upon Hull City Council is set for a windfall after deciding to sell its 157.5m shares in Kingston Communications, the Yorkshire Post states.

The council previously earned£225m when KC was floated in 1999 but much of this was spent on 'extravagant' projects.

A councillor on Craven DC in the Yorkshire Dales who lived in the Outer Hebrides has finally resigned.

The Yorkshire Post says John Alderson claimed over£4,000 in allowances to pay for travel after starting a new life by opening a pub in Lewis.

Questions over civil liberties are raised in many newspapers' reports on plans to make the nation greener

Refuse collection and civil liberties

In news that is sure to alarm civil liberties campaigners and conspiracy theorists alike, The Times - 'Chip-and-bin' tax aims to force more recycling' - and the Daily Telegraph - 'Microchips in dustbins spy on 3bn homes' - report on the implementation of 'waste stealth tax' technology in the nation's dustbins. The Telegraph reports the findings of a poll that revealed that 68 councils have bought bins with microchips to weigh householders' rubbish.

The poll for Despatches on Channel 4 comes ahead of the publication of the government's waste strategy today.

Families will have to sort their rubbish into at least five recycling bins on their doorstep or face penalties under plans to be unveiled today, reports The Daily Mail. Meanwhile nearly four million families already have microchips fitted in their bins, according to a survey that shows one in seven councils has introduced the chips. The Mail welcomes the government's assertion that council's should consult residents before moving to a fortnightly bin collection. However, it argues more questions are raised by the scheme that needed to be answered.

Manchester will pioneer 'pay-as-you-drive'

Manchester will unveil tomorrow a£3bn plan to become the first place in Britain to charge drives for the distance they travel on congested roads, reports The Times. Everyone who drives in the city centre will have to pay a deposit for an electronic tag which must be placed inside the windscreen.

Rainbow coalition to rule in Wales

A three-party coalition of opposition parties is poised to take power in Wales, installing nationalist Ieuan Wyn Jones as first minister and consigning Labour to the wilderness after 80 years as the country's dominant political movement, according to The Times.

Energy and spies

Meanwhile, the Daily Express - 'Gas and electric spies in your home' - conjures up an Orwellian vision of British homes being fitted with high-tech 'smart' meters by thegovernment in order to track energy use.

The Independent - 'Google is watching you' - also claims that the online giant's plan to build intricate personal profiles of users brings to mind 'the spectre of an internet Big Brother'.

Home information packs

The Times - 'Brown keeps faith in Kelly despite fiasco on home packs' - reports on criticism of communities and local government secretary Ruth Kelly, who has faced humiliation after the government climb-down on home information packs this week.

In better news for the government, however, The Guardian reports that 'Labour closes gap on Tories' down to 2%.

Energy white paper

The Daily Telegraph - '60 sites on list for new nuclear plants' - and The Financial Times - 'Ministers told to put N-plants on old sites' - report on the fall-out from the unveiling of the energy white paper yesterday. The Financial Times argues the white paper contains too much micromanagement, stressing the government should be concerned with energy research and not on imposing costs on carbon.

New nuclear power stations are likely to be build on the sites of old coal and gas-fired stations in Oxfordshire and the south-east, the Guardian reports.

It discloses that a confidential report, prepared for ministers by the energy analysts Jackson Consulting, recommends existing sites as they are already connected to the national grid.

The Times - 'Government considers£1bn sale of waterways' - reports on the possible privatisation of British Waterways, which manages the country's waterways.

Who gets priority to welfare state?

The Daily Express backs calls for a 'Britons come first' approach to public services, backing industry minister Margaret Hodge's concerns about the distributive processes of the welfare state.

Double first for transsexual mayor and her mayoress

Cambridge's 801st mayor Jenny Bailey, who takes up the post this morning, will become Britain's first transgender mayor, reports The Times. She will be helped in her civic duties by her long-time partner Jennifer Liddle who is also transgender.

The traffic wardens with eyes in the side of their head

Traffic wardens in Salford, Greater Manchester, are trialling the use of video cameras strapped to the side of their head to gather film evidence if angry motorists attack and help them in their new role of issuing penalties of up to£80 for anti-social behaviour, reports The Daily Mail.

Dummy road pricing trials are set to start as early as next year, the Daily Telegraph reports. The dummy trials are hoped to uncover any teething troubles with the equipment that would need to be fitted in cars.

The Daily Telegraph claims Gordon Brown could parachute his campaign manager, Jack Straw, into the job of deputy prime minister, bypassing the winner of the deputy leadership contest.

A government adviser has told the Commons education select committee that grammar schools should be forced to join forces with struggling comprehensives amid claims they do not do enough to help failing children, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The paper also covers a report by right-wing think tank the Bow Group, which says the percentage of pupils gaining five GCSEs has fallen in 695 council wards.

Kensington & Chelsea RBC has commissioned an independent report into shops in the area, hoping to take a stand against the encroachment of chainstores, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The head of the National Audit Office is facing questions over expensive stays at some of the world's finest hotels, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The costs of a series of foreign trips by the comptroller of the NAO, which exists to ensure tax payers' money is not wasted, were uncovered after a Freedom of Information request by Private Eye.

Other stories of interest

A£5,000 reward has been offered by police investigating a two-year hate campaign against the Watford branch of the Liberal Democrats.

Leader of Westminster Council Sir Simon Milton spoke publicly for the first time about being gay as he announced that he would marry his long-term partner, reports The Times.

Bath could be stripped if its status as a World Heritage site if a massive new development of tower blocks, homes and offices goes ahead, reports The Times.

Members of a village bowls club in Hales, Norfolk, are claiming squatters' rights to stop developers building homes on their green.

The Daily Mail visits Modbury in South Devon - the first carrier bag-free town in the country

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