First minister Jack McConnell has ordered his fellow Labour ministers into a town hall charm offensive to head off furious opposition within his own party to voting reform for council elections, reported Scotland on Sunday. The Scottish Labour leader has promised to send his ministers to every group of Labour councillors in Scotland to answer questions and argue the case for electoral reform.
Staff of Harrogate BC are to be given the option of working beyond the normal retirement age of 65 in anticipation of changes in the law, reported yorkshiretoday.co.uk. The authority already employs six people aged over 65. Another 47 are between 60 and 65 and its principal human resources officer, Trevor Baker, is recommending a non-discrimination policy. He told the paper any judgment on who should be allowed to continue working beyond 65 should be based on ability, not age: 'The demographic situation nationally means there are fewer younger people of employment age and more older people available for work. People are living longer, often have second marriages and second families and want to, or need to, continue working. Retiring workers aged 65-plus sometimes seems pointless.'
FEAR OF LOSING THE EUROPEAN UNION'S MILLIONS FOR REGION
A 'weak' government response to planned redistribution of European Union funding could halt economic regeneration in the west Midlands, a leading councillor is claiming. Wolverhampton City Council Conservative group leader Paddy Bradley warned that opportunities to create new jobs could disappear if the region losesout on financial aid from Brussels following the enlargement of the EU next year, reported The Birmingham Post (31/5/03, p3).
GAY COUNCILLORS HOPE TO WED IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS
Two newl y-elected councillors have announced they are gay lovers and would like to hold a civil wedding ceremony in the council chambers, reported Scotland on Sunday (1/6/03, p6). Neil Fletcher and John Stewart said they had been together for more than a decade and have cemented their partnership by winning seats on Aberdeen City Council.
NEW HOUSING CHIEF WORRIED THAT STOCK TRANSFER BRINGS CASH OPPORTUNITY FOR CRIMINALS
The new head of Glasgow's £4bn housing stock transfer has said he fears gangsters may try to exploit community groups underpinning the scheme, reports The Herald(p4). Michael Lennon, who formally took over as chief executive of Glasgow Housing Association today, said he was concerned about potential 'criminalisation' of local housing organisations. A network of 64 LHOs is due to take over the running of about 80,000 former Glasgow City Council houses later this year, working on behalf of GHA, which owns the stock.
by assistant editor Neil Watson