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News round-up 5/11: London council "defying" ministerial plea

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

Welfare reform

London boroughs are preparing to send thousands of homeless families to live in temporary accommodation outside the capital, in “defiance” of ministerial demands that people should be housed locally, reports the Guardian.

Councils are acquiring properties across south east England and beyond to cope with an expected surge in numbers of families presenting as homeless as a result of welfare cuts from next April, the paper says.

Meanwhile, housing associations will be forced to play a more active role in the lives of their tenants once Universal Credit is introduced, the Financial Times reports welfare minister Lord Freud as saying.

He made the comments as the government released the results from six areas piloting aspects of the new benefit which found that around a fifth of claimants might be unable to cope with the new direct payment system. Lord Freud said support for those people would be “expensive” and he said decisions had yet to be taken on how it would be paid for and commissioned.

 

Heseltine review

Extra ‘City Deals’ and better funding for local enterprise partnerships could be on the cards as part of the government’s response to the Heseltine Review, the Telegraph reports Business Secretary Vince Cable as saying.

Mr Cable indicated that there would be more “City Deals” – which give large cities powers over their transport, education and infrastructure budgets – and improved access to cash for Local Enterprise Partnerships, the fledgling regional-growth bodies. “A combination of those two things will turn around this oil tanker which is heading in the direction of more and more centralisation,” he told the paper.

 

Social care

NHS patients receive an “unacceptable” level of care from “a growing army of unqualified health care assistants” on wards and in care homes, the Daily Telegraph reports.

  

Dilnot

 The government is “unable to commit” to introducing the cap on care costs proposed by the Dilnot commission, the Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend

The admission came in a joint submission to a House of Lords committee on ageing, from the Department of Health, Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Communities and Local Government. “Any such system will have a cost…At this time, the government is committed to reducing the structural deficit, and we are unable to commit to introducing a new system,” it said.

 

Policing

Damian Green, Conservative Minister of State for Crime and Policing told the Today Programme said that police officers were unhappy about the freezing of their salaries.

The retention and recruitment rate amongst police forces was “going well”, said, adding that crime levels had dropped by 10 per cent over the past two years.

Lord Stevens, chairman of the Independent Commission on the Future of Policing in England and Wales and former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said that he had received anecdotal evidence that suggested that there was low morale in the police.

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