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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 12:05HRS

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PRIME MINISTER TO ISSUE BLUEPRINT FOR PUBLIC SECTOR SHAKE-UP ...
PRIME MINISTER TO ISSUE BLUEPRINT FOR PUBLIC SECTOR SHAKE-UP

Tony Blair will raise the profile next week of his support for tax rises to pay for the health service, with a 30-page pamphlet setting out his blueprint for public sector reform. He believes a detailed explanation of how the extra money would be used to modernise schools and hospitals is crucial if the public is to be persuaded to pay more tax, reports The Financial Times(p2)

ENGLISH ASSEMBLIES WHITE PAPER SET FOR FURTHER DELAYS

The white paper on elected assemblies for the English regions, already two months behind schedule, is to be delayed until May because the prime minister has insisted on a change of government policy regarding county councils, reports the Financial Times(p4). Transport, regions and local government secretary Stephen Byers and deputy prime minister John Prescott agreed before Christmas that elected assemblies could be established without reorganising local government in regions with 'predominantly unitary' councils.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS ACCUSED OF WRAPPING PUPILS IN COTTON WOOL

Independent schools pursuing high academic results may be spoon-feeding pupils and so damaging their ability to think for themselves, the private sector's inspection service has warned. Its first annual report warns that tasks at fee-paying schools tend to be 'over-directed' so that pupils do not 'have sufficient opportunity or incentive to think for themselves', reports The Independent(p11).

IN BRIEF:

A Norfolk resident writes in The Daily Telegraphon the Model Code for Parish Councils, and 'prejudicial interest' in particular. The writer believes the code is 'another example of the government's illusion that it can control the everyday detail of people's lives,' and that: 'The only result is ill-conceived, ill-drafted legislation.'

AND FINALLY ...

A boy of seven has helped to save his play park from closure after addressing the local council on the issue, under a local government standing order. Bournemouth BC had planned to invest the savings in larger play parks, but after hearing from Marcus Johns, councillors dropped the plan, reports The Daily Telegraph(p13).

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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