Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Ministers are to announce a shakeup of vocational qualifications including the introduction of seven courses in engineering and construction, the Financial Times reports. Other qualifications will be axed including the level-three vocation courses “cutting facial hair”, “maintaining personal health and wellbeing in the health and beauty sector”, and “key skills in working with others”.
The National Trust has warned Britain is facing “warfare” in communities because councils have failed to meet deadlines to adopt a local plan for development, the Financial Times reports.
Thousands of children living below the poverty line in some of the wealthiest parts of England’s home counties may be unable to afford a proper lunch but fail to qualify for free school meals, according to a study by the Children’s Society reported in the Guardian.
A mother has been reunited with the baby that was taken away from her after social workers turned up unannounced during her labour, the Daily Telegraph reports. The incident happened in “crisis-hit” Doncaster MBC, the newspaper says, adding that there was a “succession of delays and oversights” in the run-up to the decision to take the child away.
‘City’ of Culture
The Independent examines which places have put themselves forward to be the next UK City of Culture. Entrants include Hull, Southend-on-Sea, Plymouth, Chester and… East Kent.
George Osborne’s Budget is set to include a review of the remit of the Bank of England, in order to allow incoming governor Mark Carney to think afresh about monetary policy, the Financial Times reports. The paper says the chancellor is resisting suggestions outlined by business secretary Vince Cable that he should relax his fiscal conservatism and introduce a programme of spending on schools, roads and housing.
Defence select committee MPs have joined the defence secretary in warning government that military spending should be protected from future cuts, the Financial Times reports.
Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph reports that civil servants will strike on Budget day. It says 20th March, when chancellor George Osborne unveils the budget, will be the first day of a three-month series of strikes over pay.
A company that provides out-of-hours GP care for the NHS faked records hundreds of times to mask short-staffing, the National Audit Office has found. The Daily Telegraph reports that Serco, which made a profit of £302m last year, falsified records to make it seem like all patients in Cornwall were getting a face-to-face appointment within an hour.
A councillor from Portsmouth City Councillor has been running “sex parties” hosted by the dominatrix “Mistress Sarah”, the Daily Telegraph reports. It says David Fuller (Lib Dem) charged £15 for entry to the “MissUse” parties at a three-bedroom detached house, where guests enjoyed “sexual games featuring ropes, chains and electrical equipment”. Cllr Fuller said he did not do “anything illegal” but refused to comment further.
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