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News round-up 13/8: Labour dilutes immigration speech

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

Labour and immigration

Labour has urged a crackdown on “unscrupulous” employers who exploit migrant workers from Eastern Europe and prevent British workers from finding jobs, the Independent reports.

Describing a speech made yesterday by shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant as a “diluted version” of a previously-leaked wording which sparked controversy over the role of major retail companies, the paper notes that Mr Bryant was “careful” to direct his comments so as not to be seen to attack Eastern European workers.

In power, Labour would give local Government the power to enforce minimum wage legislation and double the penalties for those breaking the law.

Mr Bryant also argued that the previous Labour Government had been wrong not to limit immigration upon the accession of a number of Eastern European countries to the EU in 2004. The Independent describes his comments as a recognition of perceptions that his party had tended to ignore fears about the impact of migration coupled with high unemployment.

 

Cautionary contact lists

Councils chiefs have been forced to defend ‘secret town hall databases’ which hold personal details of potentially abusive people, according to the Times. The LGA said council stff needed to be aware that they could be subject to physical assault, violent threats, intimidation with dangerous dogs and inappropriate sexual behaviour. A survey of 150 councils by the Press Association showed that young children and ‘very elderly’ people were on ‘cautionary contact lists’.

A spokesman for the LGA told the Times that recording instances where staff had been subject to unacceptable behaviour was an important part of ensuring they could work without fear of harrassment.

 

Planning

Spelthorne BC has shut down a nudist spa with a dungeon, pool and sauna after ruling that it breached planning laws, the Daily Telegraph reports. The council said it wanted the Kestrel Hydro Naturists Spa, which is in a “quiet village”, to be returned to a “family home”.

 

Fracking

David Cameron would accept fracking in his own backyard  as long as constituents were properly consulted, the Times quotes the prime minister’s spokesman as saying.

Mr Cameron’s belief that shale gas should be pursued was “as relevant in his constituency as anywhere else in the country”, he said. “Anywhere in the country where there is the possibility of shale gas exploration taking place, it is important for dialogue to take place with local people.”

 

NHS

Patients are being failed by a “toxic cocktail” within the health service where complaints go unheard and lessons unlearnt, the NHS Ombudsman has warned.

Reporting on the story, the Daily Telegraph writes that the Ombudsman is calling for concerns to be acted on more quickly so that action is taken before care is jeopardised.

The recommendations for change include 24-hour access to a patient advice service, each person to be given the name of a senior person they can raise concerns with, and a regular measurement of feedback from patients, so hospitals can compare their handling of complaints.

The recommendations are to be passed on to Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who is leading an investigation on how complaints are handled in the NHS.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The question that needs to be resolved is whether these companies directly or indirectly set out to recruit workers from low wage EU countries and whether Tesco's in particular deliberately shut down Harlow to reduce wages for this type of work. At the moment employers seem to be able to drive a coach and horses through workers' terms and conditions.

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