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News round-up 8/8: Labour councils in spotlight over zero-hour contracts

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Extra cash for A&E wards | Surrey social workers criticised

Zero-hour contracts

Labour-run councils use staff on zero-hour contracts, the Financial Times reports. The newspaper says Doncaster MBC estimates it has 300 staff on such arrangements, while the London boroughs of Tower Tamlets, Brent, Ealing, Merton, Hounslow and Newham also use the arrangements. Labour has this week criticised zero-hour contracts as being partly to blame for an “underemployment crisis”.

 

Accident and emergency wards

Hospitals will get an extra £500m to help struggling A&E wards as prime minister David Cameron admitted there could be “excessive waits” without bailouts this winter.

The Guardian reports that Mr Cameron will today announce the extra money to be spent over the next two years after warnings that some emergency wards are on the brink of collapse.

 

Social work

Social workers from Surrey CC “swooped on a family home and removed a gravely ill little girl from her parents’ care” amid a “’feeding frenzy’ of misinformation and speculation”, the Times reports. It says a judge said the social workers had enlisted police support in removing the one-year-old, on the basis of “wholly improbable” fears that one of her parents had cut a tube on her ventilation equipment. The council accepted in court that the steps taken could not be justified, the newspaper reports.

 

Ukip

In the wake of yesterday’s revelation that Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom had complained about aid funding for “bongo bongo land”, the Independent carries a list of Ukip councillors that have also made the headlines. They include Chris Pain, leader of the Ukip group at Lincolnshire CC who is being investigated over racist comments on Facebook, and Peter Georgiou who resigned from his Norfolk CC seat in May when it emerged he was banned from Poundstretcher for shoplifting. Cllr Pain denies making the comments on Facebook, claiming his account was hacked.

 

London transport

A new high-speed “rail bagel” encircling London will be the priority for the city’s transport plans over the next 20 years, City Hall officials are quoted as saying in today’s Financial Times.

Rejecting the notion that new light-rail and tram services will provide the sole solution for transporting Londoners as the city’s population grows to some 10 million, deputy mayor for transport Isabel Dedring said that in the longer term, “what we need is high-speed public transport connections to tackle congestion and help [outer London] town centres thrive”.

 

Ofsted

Ofsted has been accused of failing to make accurate judgements on the standards of care provided by nurseries and childminders, the Independent reports. The concerns are raised in a report by the thinktank the Institute for Public Policy Research – but a spokesman for the watchdog said the public could trust its judgements.

 

Waste

Today’s Daily Telegraph leads with the story that Conservative environment, food and rural affairs minister Lord De Mauley has called for households to repair their broken goods or buy second-hand replacements as part of an EU-wide drive to cut waste.

 

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