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News review - 24 September 2009

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LGC’s selection of this week’s must-read news items plus a comprehensive round-up of news from all local government’s service areas and disciplines.
NOTE: Click on the headlines for more on the stories.

THE WEEK’S TOP STORIES

Clegg eyes quangos and pay levels

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has pledged to close 10 government departments and 90 quangos as part of plans to “cut the cost of politics” by nearly £2bn. Bodies named include regional development agencies, strategic health authorities and the School Food Trust. Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said his party wouldcut taxes for those on low and middle incomes and introduce a half penny in the pound levy on properties worth more than £1m.

Laml ruling challenge

Harrow LBC is planning a legal challenge to an appeal court ruling that a group of London boroughs could not rely on the power of wellbeing to set up LondonAuthorities Mutual Limited (LAML). It has written to Local Government Association asking it to contribute to a fighting fund. Brent LBC is also said to be planning to act. They cited LGC’s Untie the Ropes campaign calling for action to restore councils’ confidence in their ability to set up innovative partnerships in the letter.

LGC says: Harrow’s challenge is a step forward that could benefit all councils: it is a shame the government hasn’t committed to act.

Public ‘in denial’ about cuts

Half of all people surveyed for the RSA do not believe there is a need to cut spending on public services to pay off the national debt, prompting experts to conclude that the public are in denial over necessary spending cuts or the impact they might have.

The Ipsos MORI poll of 1,041 adults found that the public is split on choices between increasing taxes or reducing spending. If forced, respondents were more willing to accept rises in business taxes or inheritance tax than rises in council tax, income tax or fuel duty.

Councils ‘not paying full cost of care’

A group of housing associations, charities and private care providers is bringing a judicial review against 140 local authorities because they say the councils under pay independent providers and give higher fees to councilrun care homes, according to Inside Housing.


POLITICS

DCLG Minister appointed

Brown admits to cuts - but pledges protection

Straw ‘unable’ to stop vote changes

City seeks ban on right-wing rally

FINANCE

MANAGEMENT

Councils hail downward push on pay

Bromsgrove and Redditch to share managers

London Boroughs set to merge HR

Troubleshooters start work on Anglesey

Kirklees cuts look to ‘different organisation’

Laird wins leave to appeal

Council groups announce agreements

Council launches tender for support services

ENVIRONMENT

Councils cut carbon emissions

Councils urged to make waste commitment

Wiltshire rebels voted down

LGA warns over flooding funding

County criticised by neighbour over waste plan

Scottish council wins tax refund

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Extra powers for Liverpool city region

Local currency launched in Brixton

Council’s new finance deal for football club

TRANSPORT

Public ‘most unhappy’ with UK roads

Red tape cuts for road signs

Council approves business parking levy plan

Council helps fund bike-hire scheme

Council plans car charging points

SOCIAL SERVICES

Predicted surge in demand for care homes

Campaigning Hossack cleared of misconduct

Hanged girl social services inquiry

INSPECTION

CAA ‘relevance and longevity’ questioned

HOUSING

Social housing tenants cool on right to buy

EDUCATION

Schools forced to find £2bn in public spending cuts (reports The Observer)

LEISURE & CUTURE

Southampton art sale despite protests

AND FINALLY…

Final word: A delightful cure for Bushy Bottom (reports The Sunday Times)

 

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