Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Council tax arrears
Local authorities have conceded that up to 84% of people on low incomes will refuse to pay council tax when council tax benefit changes take effect this April - but have said there is little they can do about it, the Guardian reports. It says research by the campaign group False Economy found more than 70 councils were resigned to seeing swathes of residents refusing to pay the tax.
A girl identified by Oxfordshire CC care staff as the victim of an adult sex-grooming network went missing from her children’s home 126 times in 15 months, the Old Bailey was told. The Times report comes from a case involving nine Oxford men accused of sex offences and follows on from a similar case involving children in care in Rochdale MBC.
Coalition dreams of rebalancing the economy away from a reliance on government and household spending lie unfulfilled as both exports and business investment fell in the final quarter of last year, the Financial Times reports.
In a separate article, the Financial Times claims the Office for National Statistics has lost its independence from local government after classifying surplus Bank of England cash in a way that improves the government’s borrowing figures.
Payment by results
Treasury officials have warned that the use of payment by results to tackle crime may not work, the Times reports. Sharon White, the Treasury’s director-general for public services, told a National Audit Office conference that “some of us who have been around a long time get very nervous about panaceas”.
A councillor who said disabled children “should be put down” has apologized but claimed he did nothing wrong, the Daily Telegraph reports. It says Collin Brewer, an independent on Cornwall council, made the remarks at an equalities event. The Independent reports cllr Brewer has resigned.
The Daily Mail criticises Banbury town council for spending £10,000 on a fake gold chain for its mayor.
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