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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 15:00HRS

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TWO MORE COUNTY COUNCILS POISED TO INVOLVE BUSINESS IN SCHOOL SERVICES ...
TWO MORE COUNTY COUNCILS POISED TO INVOLVE BUSINESS IN SCHOOL SERVICES

Essex CC and Surrey CC are to give companies a significant role in providing services to hundreds of schools. The councils are poised to join successful authorities such as Bedfordshire and Lincolnshire in an ambitious programme of reform with private sector partners, volunteering to seek external expertise and may go on to try to sell educational services to other councils, reports the Financial Times(p5).

AVIATION COALITION BELIEVES IT HAS SOLUTION TO RAIL CHAOS

The Freedom to Fly lobby group, comprising representatives of the aviation industry, business, trade unions and tourism groups, yesterday called for heavy investment in airport capacity. It believes this may avoid the chaos being suffered by the railway network in the run up to the white paper on air transport, reports the Financial Times (p5).

CRITICS ATTACK RAIL PLAN FOR OMITTING BIG CITY PROJECTS, INCLUDING CROSS-LONDON LINES

The government's national strategy to revive the troubled railways was attacked for omitting a number of big projectsat its publication yesterday. Schemes that will be developed but not built under the 10-year plan include cross-London links and works to ease congestion in the Manchester and Birmingham areas. The author of the plan, the Strategic Rail Authority, revealed that cutting fuel taxes had made it more expensive to meet growth targets for rail, reports the Financial Times(p4).

OUTGOING OFSTED HEAD TO CHAIR HACKNEY LEA'S REPLACEMENT EDUCATION TRUST

The Guardian(p6) pre-empted the official announcement that Mike Tomlinson, the chief inspector of schools, is to lead the body set up to replace the failing education authority in Hackney LBC. In what the paper describes as 'a remarkable gamekeeper-turned-poacher move', the head of Ofsted - which criticised the education authority in three successive reports - will become the first chairman of the Hackney Education Trust. The independent not-for-profit trust is be charged with turning around education in Hackney's 70 schools.

COUNCILLOR CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

The Financial Times(p16) carries a letter from a cabinet member for transport and infrastructure at Westminster City Council, Charles Cronin, regarding London's 'derepit' public transport system, which he agrees is reaching crisis point. Cllr Cronin believes: 'We are facing chronic underinvestment in public transport across the country.' He concludes: 'It is time the government used London's business rates on London's infrastructure.'

FREE CARE FOR ELDERLY SCOTS MAY BE BUT BACK TO JULY EARLIEST

Implementation of free personal care for the elderly in Scottish residential and nursing homes looks set to be put back until at least July after the failure of the Scottish executive to broker a deal with Westminster over funding of the scheme. Work and pensions secretary Alistair Darling has refused to agree to£23m in attendance allowance being switched over to the Scottish budget when free personal care is introducedm, which would have helped pay the£125m a year annual cost, reports the Financial Times(p4).

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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