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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 11:30HRS

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EDUCATION SECRETARY GIVES UNION LEADERS ULTIMATUM OVER CLASSROOM ASSISTANTS...
EDUCATION SECRETARY GIVES UNION LEADERS ULTIMATUM OVER CLASSROOM ASSISTANTS

Estelle Morris today warns union leaders that they will scupper plans designed to reduce teachers' workloads if they refuse to back government moves to allow classroom assistants to take lessons. In an interview with The Independent(p2), the secretary of state for education tells the National Union of Teachers: 'You've come so far - don't jump overboard now.' The union is opposing her plans, to be announced today.

CHANCELLOR MAY INCREASE BORROWING TO AVOID TAX RISES, BUT NOT TO PAY FIREMEN

Gordon Brown gives warning today that irresponsible pay rises such as that demanded by the firefighters would put at risk Britain's ability to withstand the world economic slowdown. The chancellor says in an interview with The Times(p1) that his commitment to spend more than£61bn extra on public services over the next three years will be met, despite mounting difficulties including lower-than-expected growth and tax revenues.

SCHOOLS URGED TO HIRE ANTI-ARSON GUARDS FOR FIREFIGHTERS' STRIKE

Thousands of schools have been advised to appoint night watchmen against to guard against arson attacks during the firefighters' strikes. The department for education and skills has sent a letter to all 30,000 schools in Britain urging them to take extra precautions as fires are more likely to get out of control during the dispute, reports The Times (p13).

OBITUARY: BARONESS SEROTA

The Times(p33) describes Baroness Serota as: 'Local government official who found herself deputy speaker of the house of lords by accident.' As the first chairman of the commission for local administration, or ombudsman, she was heavily involved in remedying injustices in local government, such as the mishandled sale of GLC council flats in Ferry Lane, Tottenham, in 1982. On another occasion she ruled that Southwark LBC, which had banned a widow from referring to her husband as a 'communist' in a crematorium remembrance book, was guilty of maladministration.

IN BRIEF:

-- Two mayors felt compelled to write to The Guardian (p21) following Roy Hattersley's piece in yesterday's paper about 'personality over policy' mayors. Mayor of Bedford Frank Branston believes Hattersley's chagrin at the success of independents in Thursday's mayoral elections 'would be comic were it not sad.' London mayor Ken Livingstone wonders why his rival Tony Banks did not call for Labour Party members in London, 'to be allowed to freely ballot on their candidate, or even when I should be able to participate in it?'

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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