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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS IN THE NATIONAL PRESS

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What the papers are talking about in local government today...
What the papers are talking about in local government today

Home Information Packs

The government's embarrassing climb down on home information packs dominates this morning's front pages.

'Disarray', 'humiliation' and 'fiasco' are just some of the words used to report on the decision to postpone the home information packs scheme just 10 days before it was due to be introduced.

The Guardian cries: 'Labour in disarray over home info packs' and the Daily Telegraph says: 'Fiasco as home sale packs are shelved', while the Daily Mail shouts: 'Home packs humiliation.'

Expanding on the decision, the Financial Times - 'Court forces ministers to shelve launch of home information packs' - suggests the government's hand was forced by a High Court judge's decision to back a legal challenge to the scheme made by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

The Daily Express implores Gordon Brown to drop the scheme for good because it is incompetently run and a greater availability of home insulation grants would help tackle energy usage, without the need for state interference, it argues.

Similarly, the Daily Mail argues it is an 'utter shambles' and should be scrapped.

In contrast, the Daily Mirror argues the scheme is a good idea, adding communities and local government secretary Ruth Kelly must sort the mess out or drop the it.

Echoing these comments, The Guardian says homes information packs are good in theory, but it was not properly executed in practice and had lost most of its original framework.

The Daily Telegraph compares the HIP mishandling with welcome relaxations in planning regulations.

Housing shortages

In a related housing story, The Independent argues that comments made by trade and industry minister Margaret Hodge - that British-born families should take precedence over foreign-born ones in relation to housing allocation - is an example of looking for scapegoats in respect of housing shortages, against the available evidence. This plays into the hands of the British National Party, the paper warns.

Migrants

The Daily Express - '92,000 East Europeans milk our benefits' - is outraged at the 'flood of migrants' cashing in on benefits and costing the taxpayer at least£102m a year.

Schools

On David Cameron's attack on grammar schools, The Times welcomes the change in debate, insisting the Conservative leader has shown his 'mettle' over the battle against some sections of his party.

Youth

The news that the Youth Justice Board is to ban 'teenage yobs' being described as 'gangs' is condemned by the Sun, which argues that harming the feelings of such individuals should not be considered.

Families

On tax credits, the Daily Mirror defends the scheme, arguing that it supports many families in the UK. But overpayments must be dealt with 'sympathetically' by the government, the paper asserts.

Disabilities

Regarding reforms of Remploy, the organisation that helps disabled people into work, the Daily Mail insists the planned closureof factories would be detrimental to disabled people.

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