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ROUND-UP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS - 12:00HRS

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MINORITIES DISMISS CHARLES' COUNTRY DISCRMINATION CLAIM ...
MINORITIES DISMISS CHARLES' COUNTRY DISCRMINATION CLAIM

Leading gay and ethnic minority figures have criticised the opinion quoted by the Prince of Wales in a letter to the prime minister that farmers suffer more discrimination than they did, dismissing the comments as offensive. Agricultural experts also slammed the comments as incorrect, saying that the issues bore no comparison and pointing out that the many billions of pounds worth of subsidies and grants for farmers dwarf the millions awarded to ethnic minority communities and the negligible amounts given to gay groups. Sean Rickard, formerly chief economist at the NFU said: 'It's just a stupid remark and does not stand up for a moment,' reports The Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/country/article/0,2763,797767,00.html

TEACHERS SPLIT IN A-LEVEL ROW

Public and private school heads yesterday handed a dossier of 'bizarre results' to the A-levels inquiry which they said highlighted the Government's exam watchdog was involved in attempts to 'depress' the number of A grades and passes handed out this summer. But as the independent inquiry began, the heads themselves were under fire by other teachers with the The National Union of Teachers accusing them of being 'totally irresponsible' by undermining public confidence in the A-level exam, reports The Guardian.

http://education.guardian.co.uk/alevels2002/story/0,12321,797728,00.html

TORIES VOW TO CRACK NHS STATE CARE MONOPOLY

Outlining one of the first Conservative 'Big Ideas' ahead of a party conference next month, health spokesman Liam Fox yesterday pledged Tories to allow state and private health services to compete for patients. He told the party to stop the 'moral cowardice' of not admitting to the 'unpleasant truth about the failures of the NHS,' reports The Guardian(P8).

BRITAIN'S SERVICES ARE FAILING ADMITS CIVIL SERVANTS

The country's top civil servant Sir Andrew Turnbull admitted yesterday that 'the National Health Service that we have known and loved for 50 years' has changed. He also said Britons 'can go abroad and see a better quality of service' and Sir Andrew hinted the Government's record on PFI had been a 'weakness', reports the FT(P2).

ENGLISH BAC 'NOT ELITIST'

Government officials yesterday claimed the Englsh Baccalaureate would avoid becoming an exam for high-fliers. 'We are not going to have a two-tier system. If we end up with an English Bac, it will not just be for the top 20 per cent of the academic achievers', said a senior official, reports the FT(P4).

COUNTRY MARCHERS 'MAINLY TORIES' SAYS POLL

More than four out of five Liberty and Livelihood marchers were Tories according to a MORI poll - which may explain the government's dismissive attitude towards them. Another MORI survey hinted the government would not lose its natural supporters by antagonising protesters, reports The FT(P6).

POLLUTION WARNING AS 200,000 LITRES OF WASTE LEAKS INTO WELSH BEAUTY SPOT

A second chemical splillage has hit the river Dee- one of Britain's most important water wildlife sites. Water companies were forced to stop using the North Wales river for drinking water. Janet Williams of the Campaign for the Protection of rural Wales said: 'The stench was terrible and the fumes were irritating to the skin.' But yesterday Martin Watkins, Environment Agency spokesman said: 'A large plug of the chemical flowed into the water but it will dilute as it makes its way downstream,' reports The Independent(P9).

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=336090

MARCHERS SAY BBC WAS BIASED

Country marchers claim the BBC's coverage was biased because it played down their demonstration. The lyricist Tim Rice, who went on Sunday's march, accused the broadcaster of being the 'Government's PR machine'. Other critics were upset the BBC failed to acknowledge the event was the biggest-ever mass demonsration in Britain, reports The Telegraph(P4).

'MELDREW' COUNT COSTS COUNCILS£132,000

A Prussian counts complaints have cost two councils around£132,000 to deal with. Bernard Borman-Schreiber von Ullersdorf has spent eight years pressing Richmondshire District Council and Leyburn Town Council on a variety of municipal matters. A special report by Richmondshire councillors has been drawn up detailing 1,046 letters, faxes, e-mails and phone calls between them and him. Harry Tabiner, Richmondshire's chief executive who is responsible for the report said: 'Mr Borman is a highly intelligent man, but he is bent on being destructive towards the council,' reports The Telegraph(P7).

http://www.lgcnet.com/admin/news/article.asp?ArticleID=299551&Keywords=+'meldrew'

TRAINEE TEACHERS MARKED A-LEVELS

Trainee teachers were hired to mark A-level exam papers this year including one 21-year-old student who had worked less than five months at a secondary school, reports The Mirror(P11).

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