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ROUND-UP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS UPDATED 15:08HRS

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COUNCIL INQUIRY AFTER BOY, NINE, SEEN AT WORK WITH ROAD GANG ...
COUNCIL INQUIRY AFTER BOY, NINE, SEEN AT WORK WITH ROAD GANG

An investigation has been launched after a nine-year-old by was spotted working with contractors to resurface a road. The child was seen struggling with dangerous equipment prompting the probe by North Lincolnshire Council. Aspokesman for contractors Total Bitumen admitted they were 'appalled' at the news, reports The Yorkshire Post (21/09/02)(P8).

HULL DEFENDS ITSELF AFTER DAMNING AUDIT

Hull's former Labour leaders have defended their running of the crisis-hit authority claiming that in the last two years they of their leadership more than£27m was banked for the city. Labour budget spokesman Cllr Tom McVie said the figure showed 'prudent, well thought-out revenue budgeting' and did not reflect the district audit team's finding that the council was in a 'precarious' state, reports The Yorkshire Post (P8).

FARMERS THREATEN MILITANT ACTION IF PROTESTS FAIL

Farmers have vowed to become militant in their bid to force the Government to respond to crisis-hit rural communities. The threat comes amid yesterday's Countryside Alliance demonstration, the biggest in 150 years. Ben Gill, NFU president said his members had marched because of poor prices paid by food firms and supermarkets. He said: 'The industry is in the real risk of meltdown', reports The Western Mail(21/09/02)(P1).

50 PER CENT OF STUDENTS FAIL MATHS AND ENGLISH DESPITE£25M CASH INJECTION

Half of all 14-year-olds in Wales are failing maths and English and there has been a performance increase of just one per cent among school children. Teachers have branded the Key Stage Three exams 'meaningless' as English results continued to plummet, reports The Western Mail (21/09/02)(P6).

SOCIAL WORKERS BLOW WHISTLE ON CARE-HOMES BLACKLIST

Angry social workers have blown the whistle on Birmingham City Council's alleged boycotting of private sector old people's homes. Staff claim they have been ordered not to place elderly clients on a blacklist compiled by social service managers. Owner of most of the homes, Birmingham Care Consortium, claims the council is bankrupting private homes by paying just£260 per person per week while it pays£525 on each person in council controlled homes, reports The Birmingham Post (21/09/02)(P1).

REGIONAL TRAINING GETS£60M CASH BOOST

The regional development agency Advantage West Midlands is preparing to spend more than£60 million on training initiatives across the region next year. AWM chairman Alex Stephenson said the agency was looking for ways to invest the cash into educational and training facilities in the West Midlands including the region's first car electronics centre, reports The Birmingham Post (21/09/02)(P3).

LABOUR ACCUSED OF BACKTRACKING ON PR DEAL

Labour have been accused of backtracking ahead of a keynote speech by AS Jim Wallace, the Scottish Lberal Democrat Leader welcoming a deal on the reform of council voting. The deputy first minister is due to be granted maximum kudos for his conference announcement in Brighton but Richard Leonard, chairman of the Labour party in Scotland assured activists in Glasgow yesterday they would not be forced to campaign for voting reform in the run up to next May's elections, reports The Herald (P1).

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