Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
The Independent leads with the news that officials at the Department of Education are offering £65,000 “bribes” to convince reluctant head teachers to convert their schools into academies. Sweeteners have been offered to schools in order to drop their opposition to academy status, the paper reports.
The Guardian columnist Seumas Milne writes that education secretary Michael Gove is “a walking disaster-zone of chronic political incompetence”. He criticises a leaked memo from the Department for Education that revealed Mr Gove was considering privatising academy schools. He also writes that there is “no evidence that disadvantaged children will benefit from Gove’s reforms either to the curriculum or management of schools”.
Thousands of unemployed people could be entitled to financial rebates following a court ruling declaring almost all of the government’s unpaid “back-to-work” schemes unlawful, the Guardian leads with today.
The ruling of a three-judge panel at the Royal Courts of Justice found that the Department for Work and Pensions had not given unemployed people enough information about their rights with regards to the schemes. Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said he had “no intention” of paying compensation to any claimant who refused to join the scheme and lost their benefits as a result, the Daily Mail reports. Mr Duncan Smith said he “fundamentally” disagreed with the judgement and would “fight it all the way”.
Two British slaughterhouses have been raided as part of investigations into the horsemeat scandal, the Financial Times writes. While Waitrose cleared its shelves of its frozen beef meatballs range due to the product containing up to a third pork, tests on hundreds of other British beef products by supermarkets will be published on Friday, the Daily Telegraph writes.
Author of the report into the Mid-Staffordshire inquiry, Robert Francis QC, told a parliamentary committee yesterday there were possibilities for criminal charges to be brought for individual manslaughter and “offences in relation to wilful neglect of vulnerable people” following revelations of abuse, the Daily Telegraph writes.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that NHS hospitals are demanding an end to local pay bargaining in order to set pay rates according to the local cost of living. The Daily Mail also reports on research showing that middle-class children are more likely to be obese than those from poorer families - contradicting the “widely-held belief” that obesity is most common among deprived communities.
The public accounts select committee is preparing to scrutinise the tax affairs of IT companies that supply the public sector, the Financial Times reports. An investigation by the paper has revealed that nine government IT suppliers use a range of methods to keep taxes low, such as recording UK sales in low-tax jurisdictions.
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