Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Councils have increased their pressure on Michael Gove to re-grade disputed GCSEs after the education secretary refused to agree to an independent inquiry, the Times reports. Cabinet members in Kent and Suffolk CCs both made the call, with Kent’s Mike Whiting (Con) saying exam papers should be regarded rather than making students re-sit tests.
Eric Pickles has waded into the row over gay marriage, claiming that church leaders have “legitimate” concerns about European judges forcing them to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies under government proposals, the Daily Telegraph reports. In an article for the paper, the communities secretary says that churches must have clear legal protections to ensure they cannot by forced by the European Court of Human Rights to marry same-sex couples.
The number of people in work has risen to its highest level since May 2008, whilst unemployment rose slightly to 8.1% in the three months to July, the Financial Times reports. The paper described the figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as a “mixed set of data” that “deepened Britain’s productivity puzzle.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday accused the government of “failing its own tests”, after prime minister David Cameron failed to confirm the coalition would stick to its target to reduce the deficit by the end of this Parliament. The Daily Telegraph writes that Mr Cameron’s failure “to rule out breaking a promise to start curbing the national debt” has left Conservative MPs “concerned about the government’s commitment to balancing the books”.
Acute hospital care is on the brink of collapse, with 1 out of 10 leading doctors unable to recommend a hospital for treatment to a friend or family member, the Guardian writes. The statistics, published by the Royal College of Surgeons, also reveal that emergency admissions rose by 37% over the last decade.
The Daily Telegraph reports that patient lives could be at risk due to a “critical shortage” of out-of-hours doctors and growing numbers of elderly patients.
London mayor Boris Johnson’s alleged hopes of becoming Conservative Leader have received a boost, with a YouGov poll revealing him to be more popular that David Cameron, Ed Miliband or Nick Clegg, the Independent reports. The poll found that Mr Johnson outscored the three main party leaders on qualities including charisma, sticking to what he believes in, strength, and being a natural leader.
Meanwhile, Daniel Moylan, who chairs the body leading the transformation of the Olympic Park is to step down to head a new aviation policy unit set up by Boris Johnson to press the case for alternatives to a third runway at Heathrow. Mr Moylan, previously deputy leader of Kensington & Chelsea RBC, had only been in post for three months, the Financial Times reports.