Councils could be enlarged and given extra powers and financial freedoms under proposals from John Prescott and local government minister Nick Raynsford, who set out their 10-year vision today. The ministers will provide further details of the new 'local area agreements' - nine pilot projects intended to let councils strike broader deals with central government over what they will achieve in return for a cash bonus for achieving it. The government's strategy paper - still consultative but aimed at a white paper early next year - highlights further progress towards more unitary authorities, and part of the plan is to attract better leadership into both the political and officer level by making local government's role more powerful and rewarding, reports the Financial Times(p4). There will also be more support for parish councils, neighbourhood committees and other smaller bodies to help deal with issues such as park management and anti-social behaviour.
Britain's abandoned cars mountain has grown by 37% in the last two years, according to official figures revealed yesterday. The councils with the worst problem have seen their numbers of dumped vehicles rise sixfold, with Wyre Forest DC showing the largest increase - 636% from 73 to 537 - in the last year. East Hampshire DC has experienced a 538% increase, from 311 vehicles to 1,984; Chester-le-Street DC 400%; and Stockton-on-Tees BC 378%, reports The Guardian(p6).
COUNCIL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT TO CONDUCT INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO SCHOOLBOY'S MURDER
Lincolnshire CC has announced an independent inquiry into Birkbeck secondary school pupil Luke Walmsley's murder by another pupil, which will examine safety and security at the school, reports The Times(p1).
HISTORY SHOWS LONDON OLYMPICS 'WOULD BOOST THE WHOLE COUNTRY'
Staging the Olympics in London would bring significant net economic benefits to the whole country, according to a study of past sporting events. Sixteen sporting events held since 1997 generated£48.5m of additional spending within a host city or area, the research for the government agency UK Sport, showed yesterday, reports the Financial Times(p4).
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR ORDERS FOR VILLAGE GANG
A gang of eleven teenagers who terrorised the quiet village of Yarnfield in Staffordshire yesterday became the largest single group to be handed ASBOs, reports The Times(p4). The two- to three-year banning orders, covering the whole of Staffordshire, were the result of a joint operation between Stafford BC officers and police. Deputy leader Stan Highfield, cabinet member for environment & community safety, said: 'More than 50 residents came forward to give evidence of anti-social behaviour and without those statements, we would not have been able to take such effective action.'
PFI PLAYER JARVIS PREPARES TO ANNOUNCE RESULTS
Shares in Jarvis rose by more than 30% as investors prepared for the embattled engineering group to announce its delayed annual results and its strategic review at the end of the week, reports Financial Times(p20). Jarvis has been working to put together a survival plan, after warning earlier this month that it would have to write off nearly£200m from its accounts and had seen debt rise to£230m.