Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
The government is prepared to delay the introduction of the Universal Credit amidst fears the reform needs to be more rigorously tested before being extended to all benefit claimants, the Financial Times reports. Whilst there is growing confidence in Whitehall that the October 2013 deadline for the opening phase of moving new claimants to the system will be met, senior government advisers say it may be necessary to delay the start of the second phase due in April 2014.
Police have announced no further action will be taken against Lord Hanningfield over his county council expenses, the Southend Echo reports. Former Essex CC leader Lord Hanningfield, real name Paul White, was being investigated by the City of London Police into claims he had fiddled his expenses while at the authority. But the force today said no charges would be made and the investigation was closed. An Essex spokesman said: “We will now be making the information we have available to the public to view on the council’s website.”
Official figures show councils in more deprived areas have been hit harder by spending cuts than those in predominantly Conservative-controlled, more affluent areas, the Guardian reports. The newspaper says councils in poorer areas have seen their budgets cut “by almost 10 times the amount” lost by those in wealthier parts of the country, according to figures from Newcastle City Council. It says 43 of the 50 worst-hit councils are Labour-controlled, while 42 of the least badly affected 50 are Conservative-run. However, it said, the government has accused Labour of “peddling baseless and desperate accusations” with the figures.
The Daily Mail reports that 1 in 4 pensioners who pay for their own residential care “will end up losing their home and almost all their savings”, according to a report.
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