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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PAPERS

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By Roxanne Blakelock...
By Roxanne Blakelock

POLICE MERGERS 'ABANDONED'

Police force mergers planned across England and Wales have been scrapped, according to The Times (pg1).

Home secretary John Reid has decided to spend the£1bn on other things, says the paper. Although some local authorities were opposed to the mergers from the beginning, Lancashire and Cumbria police forces were still set to merge, voluntarily. However, the policing minister, Tony McNulty, said yesterday that he could not resolve the concerns of these two police authorities.

Malcolm Doherty, the chair of Lancashire Police Authority, said: 'We feel badly let down'. Police mergers setback as deal collapses'

SOME DISTRICTS WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR REGIONAL AID

According to draft proposals published yesterday by the Department of Trade and Industry, some areas of Britain will no longer be eligible for regional aid from next year, The Financial Times reports (pg3).

The cuts will come under new European Union guidelines. Edinburgh, Lancaster, Brighton and Hove and Dover are among those taken off the map of assisted areas.

There is particular concern that needy areas in the north west will lose out on aid.

COUNCIL FAILS IN ITS PROSECUTION OVER RECYCLING

A woman was cleared yesterday after Exeter City Council's failure to prove that she put rotting food in to recycling bins, The Guardian reports (pg5).

It cost Exeter between£5,000 and£6,000. The council claimed that the law was 'unworkable'. Despite its failure to prosecute, the council will continue to follow up recycling offenders through the courts, The Independent reports (pg7). Pete Edwards, executive member for environment and leisure, said that he was pleased this case had raised the profile of recycling.

MUSLIMS LIVING IN DEPRIVED AREAS WILLL BE GIVEN MORE RESOURCES

Local government secretary Ruth Kelly will lead the project to give more resources to Muslims in poor areas, as part of the new counter-terrorist strategy, The Times reports (pg22).

The strategy is designed to treat the root causes of the radicalisation of some Muslims.

NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE IN PRESERVING ENGLISH HERITAGE

English Heritage claims that while buildings in the south are being preserved, the north is being ignored, The Daily Telegraph reports, (pg 9). Part of the problem is that not all the buildings are publicly owned, with 17% in the hands of central government and local authorities.

At least twice as many at-risk buildings are in danger of decaying in the north than in the south, The Independent reports (pg5).

English Heritage report

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY HOUSES

As part of its energy review, the government will today give an idea of its plans for the environmentally friendly house of the future, The Independent reports (pg12).

It will include features like solar panels, roof insulation, low-emission glass and rainwater storage.

Brighton also contributed to an environmentally friendly atmosphere yesterday by introducing 12 tuk-tuks (motorised rickshaws) to the streets, The Independent reports (pg7). They are virtually emission-free and if the trial is successful, they will be introduced in London from next May.

POOR MANAGEMENT BLAMED FOR NHS FINANCIAL FAILURE

The management of health service organisations has been blamed for their bad performance, The Daily Telegraph reports (pg6). The Audit Commission criticised 'short-term financial fixes' which has contributed to£174m debts.

TIMES POLL SHOWS MAJORITY OF VOTERS WANT PRESCOTT OUT

70% of voters want deputy prime minister John Prescott to resign now, The Times reports (pg2).

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