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News round-up 4/4: Legal blow to volunteer plan

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

Libraries

Surrey CC’s attempt to replace paid staff at 10 libraries with volunteers was ruled unlawful yesterday after judge Mr Justice Wilkie said the council had “failed to have due regard to the equality issues raised by the case”. The council cabinet had not seen an equality assessment outlining how volunteers would be trained to deal with disabled people when it took the decision, the Guardian reports. The council said the decision would not prevent the proposals going ahead but one of the residents who had brought the challenge said Surrey councillors “should not forget that we employ them to provide efficient services”. Councillors are in fact elected representatives, not employees.

 

Mayoral Race

Tensions in the mayoral race “exploded into the open” according to the Financial Times, after Mayor of London Boris Johnson branded Labour candidate Ken Livingstone a “liar” for alleging that he used a private company to avoid paying tax. In a lift ride following a live radio debate on LBC 97.3, a “visibly angry” Mr Johnson was reported to have called Mr Livingstone a “fucking liar” three times, although Mr Livingstone did not respond.

 

Energy

The government had launched its second £1bn competition in five years to find a company that can develop a workable scheme to capture carbon dioxide emissions that are linked to climate change, from power plants, the Financial Times reports. According to the newspaper, the plans come six months after the first contest “collapsed” when the winning consortium, led by Scottish Power, failed to agree financial terms with the government.

 

Police

The Guardian writes that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has urged his staff to report inappropriate behaviour by colleagues, following a newspaper investigation into alleged racism in the force. Mr Hogan-Howe made a personal address to 48,000 staff at Scotland Yard, saying he had been “shocked” by revelations and that he would not stand for racism or racists.

 

Charities

Prime minister David Cameron is expected to announce the launch of a £600m fund to begin the world’s first charity investment market. And it is hoped the project will lead to easy-access loans for charities and social enterprises. The money will include £400m raised from dormant bank accounts, the Times reports.

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