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News round-up 25/2: Tax breaks for Wales workers

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

The economy

Taxpayers could be given a discount for living and working in Wales, as part of Government plans to boost the country’s under developed economy, reports the Independent. The paper outlines that the Treasury is proposing to grant the Welsh Assembly taxation powers that would allow it to vary the rates of tax that apply to people who live and work in Wales.

Today’s Telegraph highlights a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that pours cold water on hopes that shale gas could transform the UK energy market. The study argues that high development costs, along with legal, planning and environmental factors, will slow production while economic benefits will be limited.

Meanwhile, Liverpool is to hold an ‘International Festival for Business’ in 2014, under plans to be unveiled by the government and the city today. The Financial Times says the government will back a third of the £15m cost of the event.

 

Universal Credit

The Federation of Small Businesses has called on the government to rethink the introduction of “incredibly burndensome” real time information requirements for salary and tax data, the Financial Times reports. ‘RTI’ is a key component of the Universal Credit welfare reform programme and is to be introduced in April.

 

Police commissioners

Nearly 90% of voters cannot name their local police and crime commissioner, the Guardian reports. It says a Populus poll has found just 11% could correctly name their local commissioner – “fewer even than the 15% who bothered to vote” in the elections in November.

 

Schools

Applications to open free schools are three times higher in London, which has the country’s best schools, than in the north east and Yorkshire were performance is worst, according to Financial Times analysis.

 

Demography and age

Details about the impact of Britain’s aging population on social services have prompted warnings that there is no coherent strategy to cope with a projected increase in the over-65s, reports the Guardian.

Evidence to the Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change has shown that between 2010 and 2030, the number of those aged over 65 will increase by 51 per cent. The Committee is due to publish the findings of its inquiry next month.

Meanwhile, the Times reports that research by the AXA insurance group has shown that rises in living costs mean that those aged over 75 are in increasing risk of living in poverty.

Research from the group showed that the cost of living for this age group increased by 25 per cent over the last five years.

 

Immigration

Romania will do its utmost to keep its inhabitants at home to help with infrastructure projects and boosting the economy, writes the country’s president Victor Ponta in the Times.

 

Arts funding

The Arts Council’s new chairman, Sir Peter Bazalgette, has warned councils against cutting funding for threatened arts bodies. “What we say to local authorities is we are your partners,” he told the Financial Times. “If you cut all your funding, we haven’t got the money to replace it, so you’re putting your organisations in jeopardy.” The paper says Sir Peter is to go on a tour of the regions urging councils to follow the examples of Gateshead, Bristol & Liverpool where arts have been recognised as “revitalising” for local areas.

 

Government data

Ministers should not have pre-release access to official statistics, according to a report from MPs, the FT reports. The public administration select committee has called on the Statistics Authority to take a closer look at figures produced by departments amid claims that government use of data has undermined public confidence.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • So now the Fed of Small Businesses is adding its concerns about UC to the voices of the mass choir of public sector organisations opposing some or all of its provisions. Soon IDS will be the lone supporter in whom of course the PM will express his unqualified confidence.

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