Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Business leaders are threatening to walk away from local enterprise partnerships unless they can soon make “real progress on the ground”, the Financial Times reports. With Lord Heseltine yesterday proposing they be handed £58bn of funding, employers on the public-private voluntary boards are voicing their frustration at the slow progress being made on influencing local economies with some saying they will allow as little as six months before walking away.
Meanwhile, chancellor George Osborne claimed Lord Heseltine’s was a “great report” and that a huge amount of it would be put into action. He said he favoured recommendations to give more local powers in order to deliver economic growth.
Former head of the civil service Lord O’Donnell argues in the Times that the government is “shooting itself in the foot” over its immigration policy. Pointing to the decision to impose an annual cap of 20,700 skilled migrants from outside the EU, Lord O’Donnell writes that a cap on skilled immigrants “is a great barrier to growth”. He also said Lord Heseltine’s report would find favour in the Treasury.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has said that by 2017 almost half of English councils will have twice as many housing claimants than the supply of affordable housing will allow for when looking at those on benefits alone, reports the Guardian. This, it claims, is a result of the government’s welfare cuts, warning that more households would need to top up rents from other sources. The figures back up a study commissioned by the paper and the Chartered Institute of Housing, which calculated that a further 800,000 homes would be put out of reach of those on housing benefits because of a new cap on payments.
Sacked energy minister Charles Hendry “led a Conservative fightback over renewables” the Times reports after his successor declared a unilateral end to onshore wind farms. With 20 Conservative MPs having written to the prime minister urging him to stop ministers sending different signals to the Treasury, Mr Hendry warned that Britain risked losing investment in green technologies if the government sent mixed messages on renewables. Mr Hendry’s successor John Hayes split the coalition this week after he was heard to declare “enough is enough” when it came to onshore farms.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended the government’s attempt to achieve the highest price for the West Coast rail franchise after it emerged that officials had altered key data to keep the top bid in the competition, the Financial Times writes.
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