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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS

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LIVINGSTONE PLEA TO BUILD NEW STADIUM IN WEMBLEY ...
LIVINGSTONE PLEA TO BUILD NEW STADIUM IN WEMBLEY

Transport improvements and regeneration projects worth hundreds of millions of pounds in the Wembley area of north west London would be lost if the government sited the new national stadium in another city, it was claimed yesterday, reported the Financial Times (p2).

The government is awaiting the findings of a report this month from Pat Carter, a prison service official, on the best way forward for the troubled stadium project, which was originally to be built at Wembley. One of the options is moving the development to another city, such as Birmingham which is bidding to house the stadium.

But London mayor Ken Livingstone said that would jeopardise promised transport improvements and up to 20,000 jobs. The construction of hotels and other leisure facilities is linked to the development of the stadium at Wembley, and he fears these projects will vanish if the stadium is built elsewhere.

'The uncertainty over Wembley's bid for the new national stadium is putting at risk one of the world's biggest urban redevelopment opportunities', said Mr Livingstone.

'The knock-on effects could ruin the regeneration of the entire borough and put at risk 10,000 existing jobs and the opportunity to add 10,000 more'. See LGCnetfor a press statement from Mr Livingstone's office. And LGCnetfor 'COVENTRY'S BID FOR NATIONAL STADIUM GETS BACKING FROM SOLIHULL MP'

EDINBURGH PLANS FIRST TRAM LINK FOR 45 YEARS

Proposals to introduce Edinburgh's first tram service since 1956 will be unveiled next month, in a move which would link the city centre to the huge Waterfront development, reported the Financial Times (p4).

The trams would connect Princes Street, Leith and the 140-acre,£1bn Waterfront Edinburgh scheme, which is billed as the city's biggest single urban development for more than 200 years. On 12 September, Arthur Andersen, the consultants, will publish a commissioned report on the scheme, which will show a tramway would be viable.

The proposal would cost 'hundreds of millions of pounds', according to Andrew Russell, chief executive of Waterfront Edinburgh, a project backed by local authorities and the area's development agency. More detailed costings will be revealed next month.

However, the plans were not expected to include suggestions on how the scheme would be financed. 'That's where the next stage of the debate will take place', said Lezley Cameron O'Brien, Edinburgh City Council's executive member for development who chairs the Waterfron joint development company.

However, Ms Cameron O'Brien said that transport links were crucial to the fate of the Waterfront project, which promises up to 6,500 homes, at least 340,000 sq m of office space, schools, an educational campus, leisure facilities and light industrial units. The ambitious project is an attempt by the council to accommodate the city growth within the confines of its World Heritage Site status and without trespassing on the city's greenbelt.

HINDU PARADE CALLED OFF

The Hindu community in Bradford has abandoned all large-scale celebrations for the biggest day in its religious calendard this Sunday, particularly the traditional late-night parade between three temples across the city centre to celebrate Krishna's birth, for fear the festivities could reignite racial violence at a time when tensions are running high, reported The Times (p2).

COUNCIL HAS CARNIVAL SAFETY CONCERNS

An emergency meeting has been arranged at the home office next week to address the 'grave concern' of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea over public sfety at the Notting Hill carnival, reported The Times (p5).

With two weeks to go before the event, the council said that the 600 stewards agreed by the organisers are still being recruited, without training, from job centres. It added: 'We have never had so little confidence in public safety arrangements this close to the carnival'. (see LGCnetfor further comments from the council leader).

The organisers have opted for local recruits, offering them 90 minutes training. They are to be paid£100 each, but officials fear some will melt away when needed or even fail to turn up.

John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, dropped plans to urge people to stay away after being reassured by the Notting Hill Carnival Trust that it had already recruited the stewards.

INSURANCE SOARS AS PUPILS LEARN 'BLAME CULTURE'

Schools are facing big increases in insurance premiums after a rise in the number of damages awards to pupils, reported The Time (p9).

Premiums paid by schools to indemnify them against claims for compensation have risen by 20% in the past year. Teachers, who attribute the rise to a 'blame culture' which encourages parents and pupils to seek legal redress for accidents, expect rates to increase further as the number of cases increase.

Each year 520,000 children require a hospital visit after an accident in school time. A third happen on sports fields.

Experts in civil negligence say the number of actions against schools has doubled in the past 10 years as parents and pupils become aware of their rights. The growth of insurance cover also ensures that schools are more likely to have the funds to meet large claims. If they are not covered, they have to pay damages from their capital assets.

Norman Hall, of Marsh UK, a firm of risk consultants, said: 'The market has taken a distinct turn upwards - premiums are around 20% higher on the year. The schools have the ultimate responsibility to ensure they can meet claims, but state schools are usually provided with policies by local education authorities, who will block-buy them. Premiums vary according to area, but the average secondary school will need to have about£25m of cover'.

Most private schools have introduced personal injury cover. Where this is done, pupils receive compensation for an accident without having to sue the school. For about£36 a year per child, the companies will pay sums ranging from£50 for a broken arm to£150,00 for total paralysis.

Many of the cases would otherwise lend themselves to claims of negligence. Figures from the DTI show, for example, that 11,200 people are injured annually by slipping on gym mats, while a further 6,000 require treatment after colliding with goalposts.

Earlier this week, Ramsey Elshafey, a former pupil at Newcastle-under-Lyme School, was granted£100,000 in compensation after hurting his neck in a rugby match. The award was against King's School, Macclesfield, for a negligent tackle by one of its players, after the injured boy claimed that the time he spent recovering had affected his A-level grades, preventing his following a career in dentistry.

'ROBOCOP' RESIGNS TO STAND AS ELECTED MAYOR

Ray Mallon, the policeman responsible for the controversial zero tolerance policy in Middlesbrough, has resigned from the force to stand as mayor of the town, according to The Daily Telegraph (p2).

As head of CID, Supt Mallon's strategy brought large falls in crime, making him popular with the public and politicians. In 1997 he was the subject of a lengthy corruption investigation, but was never charged.

In October the town will hold a referendum on whether to have a directly-elected mayor, followed by an election in May. Mr Mallon, who was approached to stand, resigned from Cleveland Police because officers cannot campaign politically and he wanted to stand for a 'Yes' vote.

June Goodchild, a community leader who is campaigning for Mr Mallon, said:'I am delighted. He will make a marvellous mayor, exactly what we need to shake the town up.

'It has become clear that his bosses would never let him back to work. I think they were terrified of the way he communicated with the public and his good results showed them up. As mayor he will be able to work with the public again and I think that is what Ray and the public want'.

Despite being cleared, Mr Mallon remains suspended pending what he describes as 'minor' disciplinary matters.

A Cleveland Police spokesman said:'If a suspended officer wants to resign it is a matter for the chief constable to decide if he should accept the resignation or whether that officer needs to remain to face disciplinary matters'.

Mr Mallon is to hold a press conference today announcing the start of his political career.

GRADUATES 'NOT KEEN TEACHERS'

Graduates have a more pessimistic view of teaching as a career than the rest of the public, reported The Daily Telegraph (p6). They see the job as poorly paid, of low status and hard work, according to a poll.

The low image shows why the government is offering incentives to persuade them to train. The new£6,000 training salaries and£4,000 'golden hellos' have attracted more applications for post-graduate courses this year, but it is not yet known how many will accept their places.

In the survey, by MORI Social Research Institute, 80% of graduates described teaching as hard work, compared with 65% of adults without degrees. Almost half said teaching was poorly paid.

'REFUGEE TSAR' TO MEDIATE IN TROUBLED ESTATE

A mediator will be appointed to help to ease racial tensions on the Sighthill housing estate in Glasgow after two asylum-seekers were stabbed in three days, reported The Daily Telegraph (p13).

The 'Refugee Tsar' will be in place next week to encourage both sides in the troubled community to learn to live in peace. The move follows a decision to stop sending asylum-seekers to the rundown estate, where there are already 1,500 refugees in a population of 4,500. The initiative by Glasgow City Council was welcomed yesterday, although it was warned of the dangers of indulging in 'gesture politics'.

Robina Quereshi, of the ethnic minority housing group Positive Action, said: 'I hope it is not just gesture politics. I hope it will achieve better communications between refugees, the council, the police and the local community'.

The Rev Gwynvi Jones, the minister at St Rollox Church in Sighthill, also supported the move but said it was important that people understood that the trouble had been caused not by racism, but by 'economic jealousy'.

He said: 'In Sighthill there are a lot of poor people who have struggled and they see refugees moving into newly-refurbished accommodation and not having to pay a penny for it. In their opinion that is not fair'.

Glasgow council leader Charles Gordon said the mediator - who has not been named - would be a council officer with instant access to all council departments. He added that the violence and demonstrations would not dent Glasgow's commitment to house asylum-seekers because that would be 'a gift to the racists'.

Four families from the estate have fled to London demanding to be rehoused because they fear for their lives. They claimed they had been under sustained harassment during the past few months.

The 18 members of the families arrived at the National Asylum Support Service's offices in Croydon late on Wednesday. They said they were in fear of their lives in Sighthill and asked to be given new accommodation. They were told to return to the Glasgow estate and once there to lodge any allegations of racial harassment. The families were still in London last night, having been put in accommodation paid for by the British Refugee Council, which criticised NASS's treatment of them.

A home office spokesman said the families would not be provided with new accomodation. If they continued to refuse to return to Glasgow all support, including their weekly vouchers, would be withdrawn.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Chisholm, the Scottish executive minister, disclosed that three Scottish councils - Fife, West Dumbartonshire and East Renfrewshire - would accept refugees under the government's dispersal programme.

Eighteen asylum-seekers, mainly Kurdish refugees, staged a sit-in at a Liverpool Council home after refusing to move to Oldham, the scene of recent race riots. The men were threatened with deportation if they did not comply with the NASS instruction.

£15,000 FOR PC 'EXILED' TO OUTPOST

A village bobby has been awarded almost£15,000 compensation because a remote rural posting cost him his marriage, reported the Daily Express (p29).

PC Terry McGlennon feared his career was over when he was transferred to an isolated town regarded as a 'punishment station'. But within three months it was his family life which was finished, an employment tribunal was told. The 44-year-old father of two teenagers was divorced and left the family home after moving stations for the ninth time in 20 years.

Yesterday the panel ruled that he had been sexually discriminated against and later victimised when he complained.

Standing on an out-of-the-way Cumbrian peninsula, Millom is a town of 8,000 people, of low employment, poor public transport and reached by a road which winds through two farmyards. PC McGlennon, who had previously been based in picturesque Egremont near his home in Whitehaven, faced a 66-mile round trip each day. He said it affected his children's studies and put a final intolerable strain on his marriage, which had broken down three weeks before the move in February 1999. He told the hearing in March: 'It was the straw that broke the camel's back. My wife would not countenance another move and this posting would hinder any reconciliation'.

His bosses had refused to listen when the officer, decorated for bravery and dedication, pleaded against his selection because he wanted to heal the separation. Two inspectors and a superintendent knew of the marital problems but refused to reconsider the posting.

The tribunal's written judgment said: 'They made no further inquiries or gave further consideration to the applicant's marital situation. No explanation was given to him why he should move. It was an order he was expected to obey'.

In fact, it is likely that PC McGlennon was picked precisely because he was reliable and level-headed and that he was a 'non-complainer who would accept the move to Millom with the least resistance'.

The tribunal said:'He had been coping, as well as most, with his marriage separation. However, the move to Millom had pushed him too far'. The officer lost six weeks work because of stress and received counselling for his distress.

Several officers told the tribunal in Carlisle that female staff were rarely sent to Millom because of the pressure it could place on family life. One said there were just seven women among the 120 constables he knew had served there in the past 20 years.

PC McGlennon, who had just passed his sergeant's exams, said there was also a tendency for staff there not to be promoted. He was awarded£7,000 for the discrimination,£2,000 for being victimised and a further£5,605 in interest and compensation.

Although he still works as a policeman in Millom, he says his life 'has now moved on' and he is hoping to join West YorkshirePolice within a year. Since being at Millom he has received a further commendation.

A spokesman for Cumbria Police, which contested the claims, declined to comment because it had been granted leave to appeal.

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