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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS IN THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS

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COUNCIL HAD WARNED DOG OWNER BEFORE CHILD'S FATAL MAULING...
COUNCIL HAD WARNED DOG OWNER BEFORE CHILD'S FATAL MAULING

The owner of a dog that killed a five-year-old girl to death yesterday had been warned about the dog's behaviour by the local council six months ago, reports The Times (pg3).

St Helens Council confirmed it had sent a warning letter to Kiel Simpson, the dead girl's uncle, in June 2006 following a complaint from a neighbour on the council estate in Eccleston.

Ellie Lawrenson was attacked by the pitbull terrier in the early hours of New Year's Day. Her grandmother suffered injuries as she pulled the dog off.

Police shot the dog dead and are now investigating the girl's death.

Merseyside Police statement

BLAIR URGES LABOUR TO 'BE RESTLESS, NOT COMPLACENT'

Tony Blair has urged his party and his likely successor, Gordon Brown, not to stray from the New Labour agenda of public service reform, reports the Financial Times (pg2).

Mr Blair used his 10th new year message as prime minister to warn that reform of schools must continue 'and deepen'. Plans to introduce more trust schools whilst pushing on with getting 400 academy schools up and running would continue.

Full text

OPPOSITION GROWS TO ROAD PRICING SCHEME

More than 71,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the introduction of pay-as-you-drive road pricing schemes, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg7).

MPs are also expressing concerns, including Graham Stringer, a member of the House of Commons transport select committee. He said the government was pressuring councils to run pilot schemes and 'take the risk' in return for cash for local transport improvements.

The petition, is expected to stay up until 20 February.

Meanwhile, transport figures released just before Christmas show delays have increased on many major roads (pg 6, The Daily Telegraph). The government is now set to miss its target to cut traffic congestion.

SURVEY REVEALS BACKING FOR STREAMING OF PUPILS

More than three-quarters of people believe brighter pupils should be taught separately, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg1).

Such pupils should be streamed by ability or have the chance to attend selective grammar schools, according to a survey commissioned for a Centre for Policy Studies report.

This week the government is due to receive a separate report from schools adviser Cyril Taylor calling on a 20-fold increase in spending to help very able children from socially disadvantaged areas.

STORMS CLAIM THREE LIVES ACROSS BRITAIN

Three people died in the storms that lashed the UK yesterday, reports The Guardian (pg7).

A 62-year-old man was killed after he was hit by fallen electricity cables while out walking his dog in Wembury near Plymouth. A woman aged 55 was buried by a collapsing cliff face while walking in South Beach, Whitehaven in Cumbria. And a 24-year-old was swept from rocks into heavy seas at Trevone Bay near Padstow, Cornwall.

In northern Scotland 26,000 homes have been left without electricity.

SCHOOL CURRICULM MAY INCLUDE LESSONS ON SAFE DRIVING

The government is considering educating young people on the principles of safe driving via the school curriculum, reports The Times (pg1).

The move is part of a wider raft of proposals to cut road deaths and injuries.

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