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News round-up 26/4: Chancellor stands firm on austerity

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

Double dip

The UK has entered its first double-dip recession since 1975, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday. The Financial Times writes that Chancellor George Osborne is standing “firm” in his stance on deficit reduction, in spite of yesterday’s figures. The Independent says economists have warned that plans for deficit reduction will damage any chance of recovery over the coming year, as 90 per cent of spending cuts are enacted.

 

Procurement pledge

Big suppliers including BAE, Serco, Babcock and Capita are to visit the Cabinet Office today to hear about the government’s “procurement pledge” including a £70bn pipeline of public sector contract, the Financial Times reports.

However, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude hopes to extend the pledge to all sectors have been scuppered. As LGC reports, the Local Government Association decided it could not sign up to the document over a number of concerns, including the focus on big business, and has published its own pledge on the same day as the Cabinet Office.

 

Planning reform

Planning minister Greg Clark has reassured critics that developers will not be able to overturn local plans, the Telegraph reports. Mr Clark told MPs on Wednesday that he had made it “crystal clear” to the Planning Inspectorate that any of its decisions had to be made on a “localist approach”.

 

Employment law

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that older workers can be forced to retire at 65, if it is shown to be in the “public interest”, the Financial Times reports. This decision comes in spite of the government scrapping the default age for retirement.

 

Catholic schools

The Roman Catholic Church has written to every state-funded Catholic school asking them to sign a petition encouraging students against gay marriage, the Guardian reports. The Catholic education Service has contacted 385 secondary schools to highlight a “duty” to ensure the true meaning of marriage was not lost, the paper writes.

 

Police cuts

Police forces across England and Wales face deeper spending cuts after the National Audit Office identified a £500m “black hole” in their plans to meet the government’s savings targets, the Guardian reports.

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