Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Charging for children’s social care
Worcestershire CC has proposed charging children, parents and carers for the costs of taking children into care, the Guardian reports. It says that under the proposal, social workers would be expected to help assess what those affected were able to pay. Chargeable services would include the involvement of a social worker, accommodation, advice and guidance and family support.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has moved to quash concern that the government’s housing stimulus measures are promoting speculative buying that risks inflating another housing bubble, the Financial Times writes. The article quotes Mr Pickles as stating that the Coalition’s measures to boost housing were working, with “house-building and housing supply on the up”.
“The tough decisions we’ve taken to tackle the deficit are now delivering a sustainable increase in housing and providing real help to hard-working people”, Mr Pickles added. The rebuke follows claims by housing charities and industry analysts that the government’s Funding for Lending scheme and Help to Buy housing stimulus encouraged people to overstretch themselves before prices rose out of their reach.
“Cost of living crisis”
The Labour party will today attack the Government over a growing “cost of living crisis” in the UK, despite improving economic statistics, reports today’s Guardian.
Following criticism from backbenchers over a perceived lack of comment in recent weeks, Lead of the Opposition Ed Miliband will describe the public as “out of pocket” and Prime Minister David Cameron as “out of touch”.
Anticipating “a fresh fillip” for the Government with the release of figures expected to show a decline in unemployment, the paper says that Labour will stress that according to official figures, the average family is £1,350 worse off than they were at the beginning of the Coalition’s time in power.
Galloway mayoral ambitions
Respect MP George Galloway has provoked “anger” among councillors his own party over a possible bid to become Mayor of London, the Guardian says. The officials believe that Mr Galloway should step down in his constituency of Bradford West if he is serious about running for Mayor in the capital, and are threatening to quit the party and work as independents, the paper says.
One is quoted as having described the move as a “slap in the face for the people of Bradford”. Mr Galloway, who claimed last week to have “a committee exploring” the notion of a Mayoral bid, given the “shrunken field” of candidates, is said to have suspended two of the councillors for “disloyalty”, and to have accused the discontented group of “conspiring to seize executive power”.
Council chiefs have criticised the government for its “poor” rates of tax collection, claiming that £20bn more could be raised, according to the Times. The LGA said that Revenue & Customs was failing to find 6.75% of the tax that it should be collecting every year- equivalent to £1,370 for every household in England and Wales. By contrast, town halls collected 97.5% of council tax and business rates in-year, the LGA said.
A company that builds wind farms donated thousands of pounds to the Conservative party months after being given a £4.5m government grant, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The Care Quality Commission has uncovered a “catalogue of failings” at a London hospital, the Guardian reports. It says Whipps Cross university hospital had uncaring staff, blood-stained equipment, poor hygiene standards, patients not being helped to eat and a high mortality rate.
Denmark’s largest pension fund is to back the construction of a straw-fuelled power station in Lincolnshire in a project that will provide enough energy to supply 70,000 British households, the Financial Times reports.
Eleven care home staff in Nottingham have been held by police over the manslaughter of an elderly woman, the Daily Mail reports. Autumn Grange care home in Sherwood Rise was closed in November after concerns were raised over residents’ welfare and 86-year-old Ivy Atkins died a few days later.
A report from the Institute for Public Policy Research estimates that 640,000 16 to 24 year olds not in educationl, employment or training - known as Neets - have never had a job, the Daily Mail reports.
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