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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES FROM NATIONAL PRESS (UPDATED 10.30am)

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NATIONAL SMARTCARD SCHEME PLANNED TO COMBAT UNDER-AGE SALES ...
NATIONAL SMARTCARD SCHEME PLANNED TO COMBAT UNDER-AGE SALES

A plan backed by home secretary Jack Sraw could see shopkeepers and pub landlords refuse cigarette or alcohol sales to any youngster who fails to carry a 'proof of age' card. The card may be an expanded version of the department for education's Connexions card, which offers shop discounts for teenagers who stay on in school, reports The Independent(p5). Yesterday the government unveiled a joint protocol with councils aimed at restricting cigarette sales to children (see LGCnet'CODE TO PROTECT CHILDREN AGAINST UNDER-AGE CIGARETTE SALES').

POLICE INVESTIGATE SEX ABUSE AT 75 INSTITUTIONS

More than 1,700 suspected paedophiles have been identified by police who are running 75 investigations into child abuse at care homes and other institutions, reports The Independent(p7). The Police Superintendents Association national conference in Newport yesterday heard that most of the suspected abusers are 'respected members of the community.'

KINGSTON COMMUNICATIONS APPLIES FOR NATIONAL CHALLENGE TO BT

The telecoms company, 44.9% owned by Kingston Upon Hull City Council,

has announced plans to begin offering its pay television, internet and telephony services across the country. Kingston Communications aims to be among the first to take advantage of the rbeak-up of BT's monopoly of local services from the start of 2001, reports The Guardian(p28).

ROW AS STOKE CITY TELLS STAFF TO GET TO WORK OR FACE PAY CUTS

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers has warned of 'vigorous retaliation' if teachers lost pay as Stoke on Trent City Council warned of pay cuts for staff who failed to turn up because of the fuel crisis, reports

The Daily Telegraph(p3). The council said teachers had a contractual duty to attend 'and where they live is clearly their choice'.

LABOUR'S PFI POLICY 'DETRIMENTAL' SAYS UNISON'S BICKERSTAFFE

Outgoing Unison general secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe's speech to the TUC annual conference yesterday is described by The Times(p12) as an 'emotional farewell'. Mr Bickerstaffe's verdict on the Labour government included an attack on the private finance initiative.

By LGCnet news editor Gary Henson

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