Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
A report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner claims thousands of children are at risk of sexual abuse, the Guardian reports. It says as many as 45 children a day are at risk of “rape, violence and sexual exploitation” by gangs, adding that local authorities, police forces and health professionals are “ignoring warning signs displayed by at-risk teenagers” because these teenagers are “often seen as problematic or complicit in their own abuse.”
Speaking on the BBC Today programme, deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz called the report a “wake up call” for government and agencies, and urged them to show leadership by taking action on child abuse.
However, both Times reporter Andrew Norfolk and Daily Mail columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown accused the commission of ducking the racial and cultural aspects of many cases. Ms Alibhai-Brown said the report authors were “nervous of causing offence to community leaders, of being thought racist”.
Public sector borrowing
The government has borrowed much more than expected in October, reducing the likelihood that the government will meet its deficit target this year, the BBC reports. Office for National Statistics figures show £8.6bn was borrowed, compared to forecasts of £6bn, in the last set of borrowing figures due to be released before the chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 5 December.
Local authorities in Wales could lose responsibility for running schools amid concerns about education standards, the BBC reports. Education minister Leighton Andrews has launched a review of education provision and said he had not ruled anything else. He told the Welsh Assembly: “I have given local authorities time and money to get their house in order, but the evidence is overwhelming that this has not occurred.”
As part of coalition plans to make it more difficult for 18-21 year olds to go straight on to benefits after leaving education and training, business secretary Vince Cable will today announce a new ‘earn or learn’ scheme, the Guardian reports. He will say in his speech to the Association of Colleges that the age group needs a simpler system that supports and incentivises people to get the necessary skills to secure sustainable employment.
Following energy secretary Ed Davey’s proposals for simplified energy pricing, critics warned last night that power companies could end up withdrawing their cheapest rates and leave customers worse off, the Financial Times writes.
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