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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 12:55HRS

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IN DEPTH: BYERS APOLOGISES, BUT BELIEVES HE'S ON TRACK FOR MORE YEARS IN POST ...
IN DEPTH: BYERS APOLOGISES, BUT BELIEVES HE'S ON TRACK FOR MORE YEARS IN POST

In a statement to a packed commons yesterday, Mr Byers said: 'If my answers ... gave the impression that I did not put forward a view, or make clear my views to others inside and outside the department, that is obviously something I regret,' reports the Financial Times(p1). He defiantly predicted yesterday remaining in post 'for years to come' as he shrugged off Tory calls for his resignation over the Martin Sixsmith affair, reports The Independent(p6). 'Time for another resignation,' says The Telegraph. 'The statement made yesterday by Stephen Byers, the transport secretary, was perhaps the most distasteful ever to have been made by a minister to the house,' it rants. See LGCnetfor 'LABOUR DRAWS LINE IN SAND TO SUPPORT BYERS'.

PLANS UNDERWAY FOR NINE NUCLEAR STATIONS

A£9bn plan to build nine nuclear stations to replace Britain's ageing advanced gas-cooled reactors is being drawn up by British Nuclear Fuels and British Energy, the country's two atomic power operators, in a joint venture announced yesterday. The plan, which would include a new manufacturing plant to make the parts, would create 5,000, keep existing staff, and cut British Energy's current costs by using the existing transmission lines and skilled labour force, reports The Guardian(p2).

FORWARD-THINKING COUNCIL INCREASES MILEAGE PAYMENTS FOR ITS STAFF MEMBERS WHO CYCLE

Staff of Bath & North East Somerset Council who cycle while on local authority business can now claim 40p a mile - more than their colleagues who drive. The rate was raised last autumn from a flat 40p a day, reports Society Guardian(p4).

LONDON MAYOR WARNS THAT CONGESTION CHARGING SCHEME MAY HAVE TO WAIT FOR BUSES

London's congestion charging scheme could have a delayed start if planned improvements to the capital's bus network fail to materialise, Ken Livingstone said yesterday. Giving a provisional go-ahead for the£5 tolls to be introduced next February, the city's mayor promised to review the start date in the autumn because of continuing concerns that public transport may not have sufficient capacity to cope with an estimated 20,000 extra users each day, reports The Daily Telegraph(p13).

IN BRIEF:

-- The Independent (p2) carries a letter from the president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, Michael Leadbetter, about the lessons to be learnt from the Victoria Climbie case, with its 'systemic and individual deficiencies in a child protection process.'

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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