Applications for postgraduate teaching courses are down 16% on this time last year despite government inducements, official figures released yesterday show. And the National Union of Teachers said it was considering industrial action in areas of the country with chronic staff shortages. NUT general secretary Dough McAvoy told The Guardian(p11) that 'protective action' might be necessary to prevent teachers being forced to cover classes for which they were not qualified. He called for schools to move to a four-day week.
10 YEAR-PLUS DELAY TO LONDON RAIL PROJECT FEARED
Fears that London's east-west rail link - Crossrail - may not be built for up to 13 years have been voiced by the capital's local authority leaders. The Financial Timesreports (p2) that an as-yet unpublished study by the Strategic Rail Authority concludes the delay would be caused by the time required to get approval and build the project.
CAMPAIGN UNVEILED TO BUILD THE BRAND OF LIVERPOOL WITHIN THE UK
A£2.3m campaign has been launched to win jobs and investment to Merseyside and boost tourism, reports the Financial Times(p3).
The Make it Merseyside campaign is funded under the EU's Objective One programme which entitles the region to draw on£800m over the next seven years. Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey says one aim is to emulate the success of Glasgow, which turned round its image. But Liverpool faced strong competition from Newcastle, he said. (see LGCnet'MAJOR OBJECTIVE ONE BIDS APPROVED TO BACK MARKETING OF MERSEYSIDE').
Meanwhile, regeneration will form a 'key' theme of Labour's general election manifesto, reports The Times(p12). The article also refers to the Treaty of Nice agreement that future decisions on regional funding from Brussels will be taken by majority voting.
ONE OF BRITAIN'S BIGGEST CITIES STILL WITHOUT A RAIL STATION
The virtual closedown of Leeds railway station will continue until at least January 15 due to outstanding work on rebuilding platforms and lines. The Guardianreports (p10) that Railtrack originally promised a full reopening on January 2. It says that the complex building operation has 'gone wrong.'
LANDSLIDES - SCHEMES LAUNCHED TO PROTECT COASTAL TOWNS
West Dorset DC has voted to seek£20m government funding to prevent the town of Lyme Regis from landslides, reports the Financial Times(p4). Months of heavy rain have weakened ancient landslides left over from the Ice Age, making further collapses likely. The FT also quoted an expert warning that global weather changes could cause more landslides in north Wales and the Welsh valleys, Dorset and Yorkshire.
Meanwhile, The Guardianreports (p9) that a lack of legislation allowing compensation to owners whose land and homes had been abandoned to the sea was hampering the work of local authority planners.
Also see LGCnet'COUNCIL OBJECTIONS TO REGIONAL FLOOD DEFENCES LEVY'
FAMOUS MUSIC FESTIVAL CANCELLED IN BID TO CONTROL CROWDS
The owner of the land where the annual Glastonbury Festival takes place has cancelled the event this year in order to give him time to try to develop effective ways of controlling entry to the festival, reports The Independent(p5). Michael Eavis faces prosecution by Medip DC over alleged breaches of his festival licence which allowed 100,000 visitors to the site. But last year police estimated that 200,000 got in.
LEGAL ACTION TO ENFORCE NEW STANDARDS IN DATA PROTECTION CODE EXPECTED
A draft data protection code - on which consultation ends today - sets out the legal standards employers must meet to comply with the Data Protection Act. The Financial Times(p4) reports that trade unions will use the code to 'challenge excessive snooping on employees' e-mail and use of the internet'. The FT highlights employers' concerns that the unions will take legal action to enforce the new standards. One of which is the requirement for employers to give 'prospective, current and past employees....all the information you keep about (them)' on request.
EXPANSION OF HEATHROW AIRPORT BACKED BY BA CHIEF
British Airways has thrown its weight behind a third runway at Heathrow airport, reports The Guardian(p23). BA chief executive Rod Eddington said the decision over whether or not Heathrow would be expanded would be a 'political' one. He also 'fully expected' the government to back the completion of terminal 5 at Heathrow in a decision expected after the general election.
By LGCnet news editor Gary Henson