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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 11:50HRS

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MINISTERS FEAR TUNNEL AND PORTS WILL SEE INFLUX OF 'WAR ON TERRORISM' REFUGEES ...
MINISTERS FEAR TUNNEL AND PORTS WILL SEE INFLUX OF 'WAR ON TERRORISM' REFUGEES

The government is worried that a dramatic increase in refugees coming into Europe to escape the 'war on terrorism' will put fresh pressure on the Channel tunnel and ports and inflame racial tensions. The Home Office said last night that it expected the issue of a European-wide response to the potential refugee crisis, provoked by people fleeing from Afghanistan and its neighbours, will top the agenda when at the meeting of European justice and security ministers on Thursday, reports the Financial Times(p8).

MORE THAN ONE IN FIVE WOULD NOT REPORT CRIME

More than one in five people would refuse to contact the police and give their name to pass on information about a crime, according to a new survey commissioned by the Crimestoppers Trust charity. The number of people willing to go to the police varied according to the type of offence, but even for rape, sex assault on a child or and murder, almost one person in ten said they would be unwilling to get involved, reports The Independent(p11).

MIDDLE-AGED TEACHERS OUT OF JOBS AND SEEKING WORK

Up to 10,000 teachers are out of work and seeking jobs despite the severe recruitment crisis in schools, according to government figures obtained by The Independent(17/9/01, p15). Local authority leaders have warned that many middle-aged recruits failed to get jobs in schools after switching to teaching in a change of career and called for a full inquiry into the problem, raising the problem with the department for education and skills last week. Graham Lane, chairman of the local authority employers' group, said he would commission research into the scale of ageism in schools. He said: 'We have evidence that particularly mature people who are attracted to switch jobs are not getting employed by schools. Heads seem to be reluctant to take them on. It's not just the fact that they may be more expensive to recruit, but they are confident people and they make good teachers.'

MIXED RESPONSE FROM UNIONS TO SCHOOL TRIPS GUIDANCE

New guidance on school tripsissued after the death of several pupils in the summer brought a mixed response from the teaching unions yesterday. The government announced it was producing a code of good practice for education authorities and an easy-to-use handbook for teachers on how to supervise school visits. The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, one of the biggest teachers' unions, said it would still recommend its members not to go on school visits, especially those abroad, reports TheIndependent(p14).

COUNCIL ADMITS ENVIRONMENTAL BREACH

The Independent (p11) summarises a Newcastle City Council story covered in full on icnewcastle.co.uk. The council has admitted illegally using ash from an inner-city generator to coat allotment footpaths. Appearing before Gosforth magistrates, the council admitted two breaches of the 1990 Environmental Protection Act. The case was referred to the crown court.

WORKERS RIGHTS BETTER PROTECTED UNDER PPP AND PFI THAN MANY PERCEIVE

The Financial Times(7/9/01, p20) argues that employees' rights are far more deeply protected under public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the private finance initiatives (PFIs) than many believe. 'Trade unions use the employment rights argument as part of their case against private sector involvement in public services,' the paper says, and both public and private sector employers often share the misconception.

COUNCIL ORDERS RE-DESIGN OF 'SS' TRAFFIC WARDEN UNIFORMS

Southend-on-Sea BC has rushed through a redesign of the uniform worn by its 26 traffic wardens, after complaints about the 'SS' insignia on their epaulettes. The two letters were allocated to the council by the national traffic enforcement centre, after responsibility for parking control was assumed by authorities outside London, reports The Independent(p17).

NEW YORK BUILDING REGULATIONS COULD HAVE COST LIVES

Hundreds more lives might have been saved in the World Trade Centre if it hadn't been for building regulations preventing the use of asbestos fireproofing, scientists claimed yesterday. They said asbestos cladding around the steel beams and columns that collapsed would have protected them against the heat for minutes or even hours longer, giving the occupants crucial extra time to escape, reports The Times(p7).

by Assistant Editor Neil Watson

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