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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS IN THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS

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LIB DEM LEADER LAUNCHES CRACKDOWN ON CRIME...
LIB DEM LEADER LAUNCHES CRACKDOWN ON CRIME

Menzies Campbell will today pledge to get tough on crime in a move which signals a change in the Liberal Democrats' stance, reports The Guardian (pg16).

Speaking to an audience of Lib Dem councillors in London this morning, he will praise antisocial behaviour orders, call for the automatic early release of prisoners to be axed, and advocate the creation of a register for violent offenders.

There are concerns that the speech - which is also seen as a bid to relaunch Sir Menzies' leadership - will shift the party's focus away from civil liberties. His full speech is here.

POLL CONFIRMS CONSERVATIVES' REVIVAL

The Conservatives have opened a six-point lead over Labour in a sign they are experiencing a sustained electoral recovery, according to a survey commissioned by The Daily Telegraph (pg1).

The poll puts the Tories on 38 per cent (up five points since April), Labour on 32 per cent (down three) and the Liberal Democrats down by one on 16 per cent.

On policies, the Tories are narrowly ahead on education, pensions and transport, and just trailing Labour on the NHS and housing.

The YouGov poll interviewed 2,102 adults between May 23 and 25.

CRE CHIEF PREDICTS RACE RIOTS THIS SUMMER

Britain could experience race riots this summer as the far-right exploits fears over migrants from EU countries, reports the Daily Mail (pg43).

Commission for Racial Equality chairman Trevor Phillips made the warning yesterday. He said anxiety was growing in many communities about the arrival of Polish and Portuguese workers, which could be exploited by right-wing activists.

He scotched suggestions that disturbances would be confined to northern towns, warning they could take place anywhere.

His comments came as a report commissioned by Oldham MBC was published, warning that the town still needs to tackle ethnic divisions (The Independent, pg10).

Prepared by Ted Cantle - who led the original Home Office inquiry into race riots five years ago - the new report says some Asian community leaders are reluctant to encourage desegregation. He was also unconvinced that all councillors shared a commitment to fostering multiculturalism, and warned more needed to be done to encourage mixed-intake schools.

HEAD TEACHER BANS ST GEORGE FLAG FOR FEAR OF BNP LINK

A head teacher has banned teachers and pupils from having England flags and car stickers because of the areas links to the BNP, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg8).

Karen Healy, head of Birches Head High in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, said she did not want the school to be construed as supporting the far-right party.

The BNP won three council seats in Stoke at the local elections, bringing its total to five, one fewer than the Conservatives.

MINISTERS TO DRAW UP PLANS ON EDUCATING CHILDREN IN CARE

Education secretary Alan Johnson is planning a green paper this summer on how to improve the academic performance of children in care, reports The Independent (pg19).

'We must not write off some children as unfit for the world of education,' he said.

He vowed to push ahead with reforms in school policies and accused critics of trust schools of 'being guilty of a bizarre kind of reverse elitism amongst the clattering classes which tolerates failing comprehensives whilst denigrating any suggestion of diversity away from the traditional local authority model'.

PENSION REFORMS REQUIRE PEOPLE TO WORK UNTIL 68

The pensions white paper was published yesterday, confirming that people will have to save more and work until they are 68, reports The Guardian (pg14).

In return, the government will make the basic state pension more generous by re-establishing the link with earnings, pensions secretary John Hutton told the Commons.

The state pension age will increase to 66 in 2024, to 67 in 2034 and 68 in 2044.

RAIN STOPS IMPLEMENTATION OF FURTHER DROUGHT ORDERS

Three water firms granted drought orders have delayed imposing bans on customers because of recent rain, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg14).

Environment minister Ian Pearson granted orders to Mid Kent Water and to two areas within Southern Water's supply area.

PARISH COUNCILLOR COURT CASE ENDS IN ACQUITTAL

A jury has acquitted a former parish councillor of attacking a former councillor colleague, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg14).

Eric Swift of St Briavels, Gloustershire, denied causing actual bodily harm to Arthur Thomas.

The court had heard that the pair, who had known each other for 30 years, fell out over a number of disputes, including the dismissal of the council's female clerk, who was a friend of Mr Swift. There was also bad feeling over an allegation that Mr Thomas had falsely claimed council tax relief, while Mr Thomas believed that Mr Swift was having an affair with his wife.

The jury took five minutes to find Mr Swift not guilty yesterday.

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