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News round-up 19/4: Fall in unemployment welcomed

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

Economy

Economists have welcomed the fall in unemployment revealed in figures released yesterday, the Financial Times reports. Unemployment fell for the first time in nine months, however long term unemployment rose to its highest level since 1996, the paper writes. The paper also reports that Tuesday’s above target inflation figures have helped shift the view of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee on quantitative easing, and that it is now less likely to pump more money into the economy when the current round of QE finishes at the end of this month.

London Mayoral Elections

Elsewhere, the Times £ reports that Conservative candidate Boris Johnson has pledged to cut the mayoral share of council tax by 10%, if re-elected on 3 May, and to exploit shared services to drive down costs in the Greater London Authority by £1.5bn.

Governance

The Financial Times £ reports that a joint parliamentary committee on reform of the House of Lords has said that changes should go ahead only if endorsed by voters in a referendum. The government opposes holding a referendum on the subject and the main proposals are expected in the Queen’s Speech on 9 May, the paper adds.

Welfare

The Guardian claims that close aides of deputy prime minister Nick Clegg have been planning to prevent the Conservatives from instigating another round of spending cuts to welfare.

According to the paper, Mr Clegg’s team are attempting to counter a proposed £10bn in cuts, with reductions to middle-class benefits and higher taxes on the rich.

Health

The Guardian reports that figures from the Patients’ Association show that waiting times have lengthened for common types of surgery at hospitals. The Royal College of Surgeons said the data confirmed fears that fewer patients were getting the operations they needed.

Standards

The Daily Telegraph reports that police were called to a parish council meeting at Werrington, Staffordshire, after exchanges over whether the village lengthsman was cutting enough verges in the village. Ejected councillor Lisa Martin said it “all got a bit nasty”.

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