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News round-up 2/11: More scorn on Heseltine's restructure plans

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Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government

Heseltine Review

More scorn has been poured on Michael Heseltine’s plan for another revamp of local government structures, in a letter published today by The Times.

“The last thing we need now is to be mired in a costly, time-consuming rejig of town and county halls,” Philip Atkins (Con), leader of Staffordshire CC said.

Pensions

Pension savers could see the value of their retirement funds plunge by nearly 40 per cent after the financial services watchdog ordered pension firms to cut their growth forecasts, the Telegraph reports.

A Financial Services Authority spokesperson said pension companies should stop giving savers the “false impression that they are likely to get huge returns” and that a central rate of seven per cent was “inappropriate” given the economic climate, the paper writes.

Fuel Poverty

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg are due to agree a mechanism to simplify energy tariffs with the aim of ensuring that households receive the best deal their energy supplier offers, the Times says.

The proposals are based on a plan published earlier this month by energy watchdog Ofgem and would form the centre-piece of the forthcoming Energy Bill, the paper continues.

Meanwhile, a group of 10 councils have set up one of the biggest energy “bulk buying” projects in the country, the Daily Telegraph claims. The initiative will save residents about £200 each. Under the scheme, the Greater Manchester authorities will collectively negotiate with energy firms to get the lowest price for residents, the newspaper says.

Education

An Ofqual report released today into the fiasco surrounding this summer’s GCSE English grading concluded the exam system was open to abuse by teachers under pressure to achieve good grades, reports the Guardian.

Ofqual chief regulator Glenys Stacey described the findings as “shocking,” stating that pressure on teachers to achieve good grades had led to them significantly overmark pupils’ papers.

The report has however been criticised by some teaching groups, the paper continues, writing that the Association of School and College Leaders described the suggestion that teachers would seek to bend the system as insulting.

 

 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Pension returns are poor because fees and charges are excessive against the true costs.

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