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News round-up 25/4: UK returns to recession

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

Economy

The UK economy has returned to recession, official figures have shown. The economy shrank by 0.2% in the first three months of 2012, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. This followed contraction of 0.3% in the last three months of 2011. According to the BBC, the ONS said there was a sharp 3% fall in construction output, the biggest fall for three years, adding that it had double-checked the figures.

The Financial Times had predicted the lack of growth would reinforce the government’s commitment to continue its public sector cuts programme into the next spending review.

 

Health

Studies show that Britain has the third highest percentage of sexually active teens at an early age, as well as ranking badly in harmful drinking among teenagers, the Guardian reports. The Lancet medical journal, together with a report from Unicef, warn that the changing needs of young people require more attention in order to address the risk of mental and physical illness and premature death.

 

Housing

As London councils plan to move housing benefit claimants outside the capital as the number of affordable properties decline, the Guardian reports of warnings of a ‘rightwing backlash’.

Elsewhere, the Times writes that several London councils, among them Westminster City Council, Kensington and Chelsea RBC and Newham LBC, are considering plans to send families to Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Writing in the Independent, Christina Patterson claims that moving families to other parts of the country doesn’t represent social cleansing if the councils involved can no longer afford to house them.

 

Energy

Today the International Energy Agency (IEA) will warn that governments are failing to promote low-carbon energy and putting carbon reduction targets out of reach, the Guardian reports. As energy ministers are due to meet in London today, IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven says that clean energy technologies are available but not deployed due to ‘our addiction to fossil fuels’. The Guardian writes that the meeting has already been overshadowed by prime minister David Cameron withdrawing from a keynote speech on Thursday.

 

Cycling

Ministers have pledged a review into road safety after the transport select committee heard from Channel 4 News reader Jon Snow and James Harding, Editor of the Times, who called for leadership in cycling safety, the Times reports. The review would look into dangerous roads and junctions identified by road-users and the Times cycling campaign.

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