'There was no need to turn Mr Prescott's pipe dreams into reality,' scolds The Independent(p20). Vernon Bogdanor, professor of government at Oxford University and author of Devolution in the United Kingdom (OUP, 1999) has analysed the document's 'brave attempt to deal with imbalances caused by devolution' in the Financial Times(p19), while the paper advises central govenment to 'Think regional, act local'(p18) and heralds once of the biggest changes in the country's government in the past century: 'Regional rule could start in four years' .
Transport secretary Stephen Byers yesterday secured his cabinet position after a defiant commons performancein which he emphatically denied misleading MPs over the departure of his communications chief, Martin Sixsmith, reports The Guardian(p1). The paper also comments on Mr Byers' 'significant inaccuracy'(p19), concluding that few people believe New Labour is telling the truth - even when it is.
CRIME #1: MINISTER ADMITS DRIVE TO BEAT DRUG CRIME COULD BE ABUSED BY ADDICTS
The government's latest street crime initiative appeared to have backfired last night when home office drugs minister, Bob Ainsworth admitted that it could lead to problem drug users committing crimes simply to get onto treatment programmes. The minister's admission came when the government announced that 'drug-fuelled street robbers' in the 10 street crime hotspots would be sent on treatment programmes within 24 hours of release from the police station, reports The Guardian(p5).
CRIME #2: SCHEME TO KEEP YOUNGSTERS OFF STREETS IN CRIME HOTSPOTS
The prime minister yesterday launched a£12m expansion of the Summer Splash scheme (see LGCnetto keep youngsters off the streets this summer in the 10 worst street crime hotspots. 'Boredom and the lack of anything to do is too often the starting point for street crime,' he said. 'More and better sports and arts activities can help us focus on preventing crime at source.' Some 300 housing estates will get extra sports and arts facilities as a result of the expanded scheme, reports The Guardian(p5).
- Peterborough city is considering banning Big Issue sellers from its central area, which would make Peterborough City Council the first local authority to introduce such a bylaw. According to council leader Neville Sanders, homeless people selling the magazine have been pestering the public, reports The Guardian(p6).
- By refusing to agree to the sale of their homes to a housing association in the recent vote, council tenants in Birmingham have have 'undermined one of the government's key manifesto pledges and exposed serious flaws in its housing policy,' believes The Guardian(p17).
by assistant editor Neil Watson