Under the above headline, the Financial Times(p2) reports that, emerging from a reshuffle of his shadow cabinet (see LGCnet), Conservative leader Michael Howard will kick off the 'positive' phase of his leadership today when he outlines the 'big people, small government' philosophy underpinning his approach to public services. Local Government Association vice chair Sandy Bruce-Lockhart has told The Guardian(p9) the LGA's dealings with the government have sometimes been 'too matey', and yesterday he said that he wanted a more 'frictional and gritty' relationship with ministers. 'It is important that the LGA presents its case robustly and clearly as an equal partner to the government.' Read Michael Howard's thoughts on public service inefficiencies in the LGC feature National enquirer, and on Tory localism in From out of the shadows.
Executives at the music giant Sony yesterday promised not to commission illegal poster campaigns after being threatened with legal action normally used to tackle unruly teenagers. Two executives faced the prospect of having anti-social behaviour orders imposed on them as part of Camden LBC's drive against flyposting. A second action against another music company, BMG, stalled because the council had targeted a woman who was only with the company on work placement and is leaving next week, but Camden insists it will pursue BMG, and has said it is also 'looking actively' at another 50 companies and organisations that had been flyposting in the borough, reports The Guardian(p4). Pete Strange, the boulevard project manager at the council, said there had been a noticeable decrease in the number of illegal entertainment industry posters being put up.
ELECTIONS 2004: BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY UNDER POLICE INVESTIGATION FOR LEAFLET
Police were yesterday investigating claims that a BNP European election leaflet contained inflammatory statements that could incite racial hatred, reports the Financial Times (p4). The Race Equality Council for Gloucestershire has contained about the content of a leaflet sent to homes around the country, which claims the 'government is planning to build five giant new cities, each the size of Birmingham, over the next 30 years,' to house over five million new immigrants, and that around two million 'illegal immigrants and asylum seekers' were pushing the health service and benefits system 'to breakingpoint'.
METROPOLITAN POLICE HEADS LIST OF FORCES BREAKING RACISM LAW
An official investigation has found that the Metropolitan police is breaking laws aimed at stamping out racism, The Guardian(p4) has learned, heading a list of 14 forces found by the Commission for Racial Equality to have race equality plans so poor that they break equality laws. The offenders are not named in the report (see LGCnet), and the commission has refused to name them, but the paper understands they include the Met - Britain's biggest force - as well as Greater Manchester - the third biggest - Leicestershire, North Wales and others in both urban and rural areas. Norfolk was one of the forces found to have complied with the law. The CRE said the law-break ing forces had 90 days to comply or face legal action which could lead to chief constables being jailed.
COUNCILS MUST REVIEW GAMBLING REFORMS WHICH EXTEND THEIR POWERS
As part of government plans mooted to give councils the power to prevent casinos opening (see LGCnet), they will be expected to conduct reviews to assess the impact of the reforms, reports The Daily Telegraph (p6).
INNOVATIVE WAYS FOR COUNCILS TO GET FUNDING
The Times (Public Agenda, p5) profiles Chartered institute for Public Finance and Accountancy chief executive Steve Freer, who believes in payment by results and know he and his members will have to demonstrate these if they are to they are to have more funds available for investment.