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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS IN THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS

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CHANCELLOR THREATENS TO FREEZE PUBLIC SECTOR PAY...
CHANCELLOR THREATENS TO FREEZE PUBLIC SECTOR PAY

Chancellor Gordon Brown is calling for this year's low public sector pay settlement to be repeated over the next two years, reports The Guardian (pg1).

He also told the Confederation of British Industry last night that he wanted to encourage local and regional pay flexibility.

This year public sector pay rose on average by 2.25 per cent.

Mr Brown also told the CBI that the Treasury would announce a review of the planning system at the end of the month, followed by new legislation in the pre-Budget report this autumn.

Mr Brown's speech to the CBI is available here.

LGA ATTACKS CENTRAL INTERFERENCE IN LOCAL EFFORTS TO TACKLE ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

The LGA says a threat to withdraw funding from councils who are failing to tackle yobbish behaviour 'is only the latest example of too much government from the centre', in a letter published in The Times (pg18).

Incessant interference impedes rather than improves local efforts, adds association chairman Sandy Bruce-Lockhart. He calls on the government to trust frontline council staff working with young people. Sir Sandy's letter is available here.

The warning comes as the government confirms plans to withhold housing benefit on an incremental basis from antisocial tenants who refuse to accept state help in addressing their problems. Local authorities will be responsible for issuing a warning notice to tenants to cooperate with rehabilitation.

FIRMS CLAIM RECYCLING RULES WILL FORCE THEM OUT OF BRITAIN

Manufacturers of domestic appliances are warning that new recycling regulations could cost them up to£500m a year in profits and force them to withdraw from the British market, reports the Financial Times (pg3).

The companies say this is why they have not yet signed up to the principles of a 2003 EU directive requiring producers to design electrical products that can be recycled and to recycle a customer's old appliance when a new one is bought.

The Local Government Association supports a mandatory visible fee - as introduced in some other EU countries - paid by customers at the point of purchase, as the only way to raise money needed to organise the collection and delivery of appliances to recycling centres.

But some retailers fear customers will see the fee as a way of boosting manufacturers' profits.

Final proposals on UK implementation are due out from the DTI in July.

ROW OVER 200 ELDERLY PEOPLE DENIED FREE CARE FUNDING

Argyle and Bute Council could face inspectors over claims it is denying more than 200 elderly people their right to free personal care, reports The Times (pg23).

The council claims it has run out of money but the Scottish Executive insists that the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities' last financial bid made on behalf of Scotland's councils, had been met in full.

MINISTER DENIES CITY ACADEMY DONORS HAVE DRIED UP

The prime minister's target of creating 200 city academies by 2010 will be met three years early, reports the Financial Times (pg4).

The prediction is made by Lord Adonis, the schools minister and architect of government education reforms. He insisted the supply of high quality donors had not dried up despite recent negative publicity and police inquiries.

TERROR RAIDS COULD DRIVE FAMILIES OUT OF BRITAIN

Asian families are considering leaving Britain to avoid being made scapegoats in the fight against terrorism, reports The Independent (pg6).

It quotes several families speaking out after the raid in east London, which has failed to uncover any devices and which could have been based on wrong intelligence.

Newham Labour councillor Sharaf Mahmood criticised the lack of police transparency, which would increase local people's anger and frustration.

MAJORITY OF STRIKE DAYS TAKEN IN PUBLIC SECTOR

Public sector industrial action accounted for 95 per cent of days lost to strikes in the first quarter of this year, reports the Financial Times (pg3).

The total days lost were almost four times the total for the whole of 2006, mostly due to the 24-hour strike in March by more than one million local government workers protesting against pension changes.

TORY COUNCILLOR FACES INDECENCY CHARGES

Police have charged a Conservative councillor with 14 counts of making indecent images of children, reports The Times (pg4).

Kenneth Leadbeater, councillor for the Dartford BC ward of Heath, has been bailed to appear before magistrates on 9 June. He resigned as council leader in March.

FREE COMPOST BIN OFFER CAUSES TRAFFIC JAM ON ISLAND

A council giveaway of free compost bins was halted after a stampede for them caused a traffic jam on the Isle of Lewis, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg9).

Roads in and out of Stornoway came to a standstill and police were called after the rush for the bins. Lewis has a poor record on recycling so the bins were offered as part of a Scottish executive initiative.

But after 4,000 bins were given away, rumours were circulating that locals are instead using them to hold sheep feed, or as water butts or to make beer in.

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