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LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN TODAY'S NEWSPAPERS

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REGIONAL CASINOS 'WILL WORSEN ADDICTION'...
REGIONAL CASINOS 'WILL WORSEN ADDICTION'

A report for the DTI by a professor of clinical and community psychology has said the loosening of rules allowing super-casinos will inevitably mean a rise in gambling problems (Daily Mail, p6).

Professor Jim Orford said: 'I don't think ministers gave sufficient attention to the public health aspect, nor did they pay much attention to whether the public really wanted this relaxation.'

AT LEAST THERE'S NO DISCIPLINE PROBLEM...

The public purse is paying for a 'ghost' school in Newcastle with no pupils, reports the Daily Mail (p16). More examples of PFI waste will be publicised in a Channel 4 documentary tonight.

Newcastle City Council closed the school in July last year, two years after a refurbishment, but a 25-year PFI contract means£52,000 a month of public money continues to be paid out for maintenance, cleaning and catering that is not needed.

Peter Allen, vice chairman of the procurement committee, said: 'The problem is that there was a contract signed before we became the administration ... What we're trying to do is to negotiate our way through that variation in the contract.'

CONTI CONSIDERS DOING A SCHWARZENEGGER

Actor and Shirley Valentine star Tom Conti is considering running for Mayor of London, he has told the Independent's 5-Minute Interview feature. The 64-year-old Scot said: 'It's a big commitment, and there are other things in my life as well so I have to think carefully about it.'

THEMED CARE HOME CHECKS ON THE CARDS

Care homes for elderly and disabled people will be subject to surprise 'sweeps' by inspectors aimed at driving up food quality and preventing overuse of sedatives, the Times reports (p12).

The plans are contained in a Commission for Social Care Inspection consultation paper published today. A hotel-style stars-based system will rank homes, with one-star facilities being inspected at least twice a year.

TRIPS TO POLAND IN BID TO CURB ATTACKS ON MIGRANTS

The Moray Council wants to teach young racist attackers tolerance by sending them to Poland to see for themselves why so many Poles are seeking work in Britain (Times, p18).

A council spokesman said: 'A lot of the kids involved are from third-generation unemployed families and some of them have been asking why Polish people need to come here. We thought the best way to answer that would be to show them. It would be one way of educating them, rather than chastising them all the time.' Those travelling will pay their own fares.

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