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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS IN THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS

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HOUSEHOLDS FACE EXTRA£345 FOR RESTRUCTURING OF COUNCILS...
HOUSEHOLDS FACE EXTRA£345 FOR RESTRUCTURING OF COUNCILS

The cost of scrapping county and borough councils could lead to council tax bills rising by more than£300, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg10).

An analysis carried out for the Local Government Association by a Cambridge University academic shows the cost could be as high as£121 per head. The Conservatives say this forecast would translate into an extra£345 per council taxpaying household, based on the£53m in administration costs run up by Humberside CC when it went through a reorganisation in 1998.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said claims of higher council tax bills due to restructuring were 'wrong, irresponsible and simply tired scaremongering'.

COUNCILS 'DRAG FEET ON TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE'

Half of councils have no plans to encourage more environmentally friendly behaviour, according to a survey carried out by The Guardian (pg11).

Only a handful said they were taking significant steps to tackle greenhouse gas pollution - such as the high parking fees for drivers of 4x4s proposed by Kensington and Chelsea LBC.

Most council initiatives are aimed at meeting government recycling targets.

Of 442 local authorities contacted, 64 responded.

GROWING GRASS ON ROOF COULD LEAD TO COUNCIL TAX CUT

Housing minister Yvette Cooper says householders who grass over their roof could quality for a cut in their council tax, reports the Daily Mail (pg18).

Ms Cooper said turf on the roof, wind turbines in the garden, heat pumps below the basement, or microboilers, were among the radical energy-saving measures that could earn households financial incentives.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said council tax reforms would not be announced until after Michael Lyons' report into local government finance was published later this year.

ANGER OVER LIVINGSTONE'S BUS AND TUBE FARE RISES

London mayor Ken Livingstone has increased tube and bus fares by 33 per cent in a move attacked by opposition parties, reports The Guardian (pg5).

The Liberal Democrats said monthly fares were extortionate while the Conservatives accused the government of using high ticket prices for national rail services to suppress demand.

COUNCIL LEADER CAUTIONS AGAINST BIG CONTRACTS

The leader of an 'excellent'-rated council has warned that big contracts are not necessarily the best solution for outsourcing of services, in a letter to the editor of The Times (pg16).

Peter Nutting, leader of Shrewsbury and Atcham BC, writes that he is 'far from convinced that we need an army of consultants to help to outsource everything we do'. He proposed going back to smaller local contracts with local companies rather than putting too much power in a few big companies.

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