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News round-up 14/3: Britain "unprepared" for ageing population

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

Ageing population

Britain is “woefully unprepared” to deal with the implications of an ageing society, according to the House of Lords’ public service committee, the Financial Times reports.

Whilst the committee welcomed the move to cap the maximum bill for those requiring social care, it was argued that a “10 year” NHS and social care spending deal would be necessary in order to allow services to be properly planned.


Minimum alcohol pricing

A “Cabinet split” has broken out after health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was in favour of minimum alcohol pricing, the Daily Telegraph reports.


NHS gagging clauses

Gagging clauses which prevent NHS staff from speaking out about patient safety and care have been banned by the government, the Daily Mail leads with today. It hails the move as a “victory for NHS whistleblowers”.

The gagging clauses will be outlawed and replaced by a legal right to raise issues that could be in the public interest. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has described this latest reform as another step in developing a culture of “openness and transparency” across the NHS.

Meanwhile the Times reports that more than a third of the board members of NHS clinical commissioning groups have “financial interests in private companies that could benefit from their decisions”. It says an investigation by the British Medical Journal found potential conflicts of interest were “rife” in the groups.


Sir David Nicholson

A plan is being hatched for NHS chief Sir David Nicholson to step down early, the Daily Telegraph reports. It says senior government figures are considering a plan for him to “pre-announce” his retirement, stepping down later this year or early in 2014.


On-the-spot fines

Councils are being accused of using residents as “cash cows” by handing out fines to people who walk dogs in no-dog zones or put up leaflets about missing cats, the Times reports. It says communities secretary Eric Pickles has said councils should not persecute people for petty breaches of municipal rules – as a report highlighted a seven-fold increase in the use of on-the-spot fines in the last decade.


Regional banks

The Independent reports that Labour leader Ed Miliband will today announce his support for the creation of a network of regional banks designed to provide credit to local business.


Regional development

London is set to spent more on bicycle lanes in the next decade than Greater Manchester has spent on all public transport in the last 10 years, the Financial Times reports. It says the figures emerged in a report that called for “a stick in the London wheel” so that more money could be allocated to Manchester.


Senior pay

Hambleton DC chief Phil Morton comes under fire in the Daily Telegraph for receiving a 10% pay rise despite a three-year pay freeze for the majority of staff. The newspaper says Mr Morton’s salary was increased to £110,000 a year.


Newport council

The South Wales Argus reports on a critical Wales Audit Office report that found Newport City Council was failing to reach many of its own targets, including improving the city centre and creating more job and business opportunities.

The Wales Audit Office’s annual improvement report found although improvements had been made in some services, the authority’s performance overall had declined in the past three years, the newspaper says.



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