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The view from Eric Pickles

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It’s not just council chief executives who’ve had a challenging year - local government’s own great helmsman has had his share of ups and downs in 2011

JANUARY:

  • With tinsel still poking out of the nation’s bins, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs appears at loggerheads  with Mr Pickles over his obsession with weekly refuse collections in January.

FEBRUARY:

  • LGC exposes his erroneous claim that council chiefs’ pay rose by 78% between 2002-2007. The correct figure was 38%. Ouch!

MARCH:

  • Calls Nottingham City Council “ridiculous” for shunning demands to publicise spending over £500. The council says the policy is a case of “the emperor’s new clothes”. Meow!

APRIL:

  • Tops the LGC50 list of most influential people in local government, but voted “government minister who talks the most rubbish” by green campaigners. Still: swings and roundabouts, eh?

MAY:

  • Tory councils join a growing band of authorities in schools-funding judicial review again DCLG. Hmmm.

JUNE:

  • Forced into a U-turn on compulsory weekly bin collections. Grrrrr.

JULY:

  • Taxpayers Alliance questions his India trip. Still: Mmmmm - curry!

AUGUST:

  • Academic claims Pickles’ “army of armchair auditors” has yet to emerge. Shhhh: Don’t tell anyone!

SEPTEMBER:

  • Launches £250m weekly bins fund to promote signature policy by the back door. Advantage Pickles.

OCTOBER:

  • Takes a pop at so-called ‘pilgrims’ – council-employed union officials that “cost government £250m a year”. Boooo: Unions.

NOVEMBER:

  • Promises £500m fund to kickstart stalled developments for councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships. How’s the take-up on the bin fund going?

DECEMBER:

  • Red faces as DCLG comes under fire for paying an interim finance chief £580,000 for 16 months’ work. Keep quiet - hope no-one notices!
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