Ken Livingstone yesterday published the Western world's firsts proposals to discourage millions of car commuters from the heart of the capital. Mr Livingstone was accused by critics of 'pricing poorer motorists off the roads,' but Vince Christie, the transport policy officer at the LGA, said the congestion-charging proposal for London was the 'biggest and most complex' of any suggested scheme in Britain, and could act as an 'interesting example' for others.
The leaders of Westminster City Council, Wandsworth LBC, and Kensington and Chelsea LBC - authorities at the heart of the central congestion zone - say the money spent setting up the scheme could be better spent. The leader of Kensington and Chelsea LBC, Merrick Cockell, said: 'The public transport system is pretty well falling apart and more problems will be created if we push more people on to it before improving it,' reports The Independent(p3).
Birmingham City Council is understood to favour congestion charging over an earlier idea of charging motorists who park at work£5 a day. The Times(p6) carries details of Manchester, Derby, Birmingham, Nottingham, Cambridge and Durham, the cities which may follow suit if the scheme is successful.
OPPOSING PREDICTIONS AS COUNCIL APPROVES LOVE PARADE MUSIC FESTIVAL
Britain's biggest city centre music and dance festival, Love Parade, is expected to attract an estimated 250,000 and pump up to£14m into the Tyneside economy, but detractors fear that the July 21 event could degenerate into a rampage, leaving local taxpayers picking up big losses. 'We have to be seen as doing something positive for young people after the disturbances in other cities,' said Tony Flynn, Newcastle City Council leader, reports The Guardian(p7).
BRADFORD REPORT YOUTH SUPPLEMENT OFFERS SOME HOPE FOR CITY
Bradford will be offered a little hope tomorrow when an independent survey of sixth formers from all communities is published as a supplement to the Ouseley commission report. The data, seen by The Guardian(p7), is in contrast with the bleak picture painted in the main report of the Bradford race relations commission, chaired by Lord Ouseley. Focus groups used for the main report, including white youths from the Ravenscliffe estate where Asian takeaways were attacked on Monday, showed 'dead end psychology' and resentment of 'the other side'.
KEN LIVINGSTONE WARNS AGAINST ASYLUM RAIDS
Home office plans for the large scale deportation of failed asylum seekers later this year pose a serious risk to race relations, according to London mayor Ken Livingstone. The Home Office has a target of 30,000 'administrative removals' - return of failed asylum applicants to their country of origin - in 2001-02, and more in 2002-03. A report by the Greater London authority suggests that between 352,000 and 422,000 refugees and asylum seekers are resident in London, nearly 5% of the capital's population, with more than 100,000 refugees and their dependents in London illegally, reports The Guardian(p10).
COUNCIL'S PARTNERSHIP WITH TESCO RESULTS IN LOCAL JOBS FOR LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED
Guardian Society(p10) reports on a partnership between Leeds city Council and Tesco that has given new careers and security to the local long-term unemployed. This stems from a radical partnership between supermarket chain Tesco and the council, who have collaborated on the launch of Tesco Extra. The vast store in the middle of Seacroft, a barren, 40,000-ho usehold, 60s estate in east Leeds, sells everything from vacuum cleaners to food, and offers re-training opportunities leading to jobs.
COUNCIL COMMENTS ON INQUIRY INTO BUNMI SHAGAYA DEATH
Last night a Lambeth LBC spokesman said: 'Lambeth Council fully understands and acknowledges that the family of Bunmi Shagaya require and deserve the answers to several important questions relating to her tragic death. It is envisaged that the inquiry will focus on the preparation and supervision undertaken by the school, the events of the day that Bunmi was reported missing and what actions were taken immediately afterwards,' reports the Daily Mail (p11).
by Assistant Editor Neil Watson