Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Fracking and fuel poverty
The Times leads with the news that the UK’s fuel poverty adviser has said opposition to fracking risks preventing an improvement in the situation of five million households struggling to pay their energy bills.
Fuel Poverty Advisory Group chair Derek Lickorish said that ministers had a “duty” to champion the extraction of shale gas because of its potential to reduce the cost of energy.
Referring to a protest against energy company Cuadrilla at a site in Balcombe, West Sussex, Mr Lickorish said “the voice of the fuel poor has been lost in the current frenzy”.
High speed rail
Treasury officials have warned that the HS2 rail line project will now cost up to £73bn, the Financial Times reports.
While the government predicted the official cost of the project to be £42.6bn back in 2011, project officials have blamed inflation and VAT for the increase in costs over the next 20 years.
Although chancellor George Osborne supports HS2, some senior Treasury officials have criticised the project and argue that it diverts investment away from other important projects that would produce more growth, the paper reports.
The number of adoptions has risen at its fastest rate for 15 years, the Times reports. It says more than 5,000 children were placed with permanent families last year, a 10% jump since 2010.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne will today argue that the coalition’s benefit cuts will “cost more than they save”, according to the Guardian.
In a speech later today, Mr Byrne will claim that an extra £1.4bn will be needed to cover delays, waste and extra claimants caused by the reforms.
The Conservatives have dismissed these claims, with an aide to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith arguing that welfare reforms will actually save £83bn.
Today’s Daily Telegraph leads with the story that a government report has concluded that three in four adults are likely to suffer heart disease or diabetes by 2030.
A law lecturer has been jailed for fraud after claiming to be a low-paid single mother in order to qualify for a council flat, the Times reports.
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