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News round up - 15 September

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Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government

Source: Radu Razvan

Job cuts

The latest job figures showing unemployment has topped 2.5m, including 110,000 job losses in the public sector, put pressure on prime minister David Cameron to soften his hardline deficit reduction strategy, the Guardian reports.

The public sector figures, outstripping the Office of Budget Responsibility’s prediction of only 20,000 public sector jobs lost, and the 2.5m overall figure are a blow to the chancellor’s hopes the private sector would take on unemployed public officials, the Daily Telegraph says.

The Financial Times says women are being hit hardest by the cuts and also reports on comments made by the Institute for Government describing an 8% fall in Whitehall employment as “without precedent”. LGC reported yesterday that the Department for Communities and Local Government was leading the Whitehall shrinking with an 11% fall in jobs while local government outstripped central government in cutting workforce numbers.


The country is set for widespread disruption on 30 November after nine unions, including the country’s three largest Unison, Unite and GMB, announced they would ballot members over action on pension reforms, the Guardian says.

Trade union leaders warned that the dead will be left unburied and rubbish uncollected and raised the spectre of the 1978-79 ‘Winter of Discontent’, the Independent reports.

The Financial Times reports Lord Hutton’s rebuttal of trade union claims that his report on public sector pensions, showing pension costs reducing as a share of national income, undermines the argument for reform. The peer said the figures assume the reforms have been successully implemented.

Financial health worries

Think-tank Reform says up to 40 hospitals will fail by 2013 unless there is radical reform of their working practices or a £5bn bail-out from the chancellor, the Independent, Guardian and Daily Telegraph all report.

Dale Farm eviction

Basildon DC’s eviction of travellers from Dale Farm has attracted the attention of the UN because it is violating international human rights, the Daily Telegraph reports and is described as an “infernal cheek” by the Daily Mail. The Guardian reports some families have given up hope and are moving on after decades at the site.

Other news

  • Former Essex CC leader Lord Hanningfield has been arrested on suspicion of making fraudulent expenses claims from the local authority. Five days earlier, he was released from prison for House of Lords expenses offences, the Guardian reports.
  • Leeds and Glasgow City Councils have set up a joint task force to examine how they can drive a new era of “civil enterprise” to improve their cities rather than retrench in the face of funding cuts, the Financial Times reports.
  • Planning reforms are based on a ministerial misconception the system is preventing house building when the problem is developers holding on to more than 300,000 plots of land until the market picks up, the Daily Telegraph reports under its ‘Hands Off Our Land’ campaign banner.
  • Education secretary Michael Gove tells the Daily Mail more than half of secondary schools and nearly one-in-four primaries officially rated ‘outstanding’ do not deserve the accolade.
  • Iain Duncan Smith says the middle classes for years ignored the plight of people living on run-down council estates and then paid the price when the inner city “came to call” in last month’s riots, the Independent reports. The paper also quotes the Chief Inspector of Prisons reporting violent clashes in jails as gangs attempt to recruit the influx of rioters.
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