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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 14.21HRS

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PUT£150M DEBT IN CONTEXT, SAYS LONDON COUNCIL ...
PUT £150M DEBT IN CONTEXT, SAYS LONDON COUNCIL

Latest figures show Hackney LBC is short of £147m due to unpaid council tax, parking fines, rent and overpayment of housing benefit and salaries, reports the Hackney Gazette (p1). The council's cabinet member for resources, Cllr Samantha Lloyd, said there was an 'unacceptable level of debt swilling around in our systems which was an issue of serious concern'. Mayor Jules Pipe said however that the debt had to be seen in the 'context of past overspends'.

UNIONS WARN OF JOB CUT RISK IN DONCASTER

Leading unions have warned more than a 100 council jobs are under threat at Doncaster MBC. The GMB, Unison and the TGWU said a total of 114 tradesmen were at risk of losing their jobs after they met with council leaders last week, reports the Yorkshire Post (p4).

GMB LEADER DENIES UNION WILL BREAK LINK WITH LABOUR

The new general secretary of the GMB, Kevin Curran, has rejected suggestions that the union could break its link with the Labour party. In an interview in the East London Advertiser (p8), Mr Curran also said he would not be joining Bob Crowe, general secretary of the RMT, or Andy Gilchrist, leader of the firefighters' union in the 'awkward squad'.

FORMER COUNCILLOR ALLEGED OF VOTE RIGGING SAYS HE WAS VICTIM OF 'POLITICAL SCAM'

A former Aberdeen City councillor at the centre of a vote rigging scandal yesterday claimed to have been the victim of a 'political scam', reported The Scotsman (28/05/03, p8). David Maitland, who resigned as Labour councillor last August, said: 'Some people did a terrible, terrible thing to me.'

COUNCILS FEAR GOAL POSTS SHIFT

Local authorities accused of providing poor services have condemned plans to make inspections even tougher. The second annual inspection of councils is set to begin, but the Audit Commission has decided to set standards higher, so authorities need to improve to simply achieve the same score as before, reports The Birmingham Post (28/05/03, p5).

GOVERNMENT MOVE THREATENS £33M REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT

The government has pulled out of a £33m redevelopment project of an estate in Islington LBC, reports the Islington Gazette (p8). The council has admitted that the project could be scrapped because it would be short of £9m in funding, previously to be provided by the government. In December 2000 Islington LBC gave the green light to a scheme to rebuild an estate of 271 homes in Holloway.

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