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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS

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BRUCE-LOCKHART CONFIRMED AS NEW WORKING PEER...
BRUCE-LOCKHART CONFIRMED AS NEW WORKING PEER

Local Government Association chairman Sandy Bruce-Lockhart is one of 23 new working peers confirmed in a list published by Downing Street today. The Mirror (p10) notes that Sir Sandy, a Conservative nominee, is not registered as having donated funds to the party.

Only six out of Labour's original 10 nominees are named in the final list, in what the Daily Telegraph (p2) describes as a victory for the House of Lords' appointment commission in defeating 'cash for peerages'.

Statement from Kent CC

TORY CANDIDATE MAKES U-TURN ON RACE COMMENTS

The Tories have been plunged into an embarrassing race row after one of its candidates for the 4 May elections said a non-white candidate 'wouldn't work for us', reports The Guardian (p12).

Joan Howarth of the Denton and Reddish association in Manchester told Channel 4, and the Manchester Evening News, that an ethnic minority candidate would be wrong in her constituency because there were not a high number of ethnic minority people in the area.

Conservative leader David Cameron said her comments were wrong but took no disciplinary action against her.

Last night a statement issued by Ms Howarth from Conservative headquarters said she 'completely and utterly' regretted her comments, which were not what she meant or believed.

GOAL TO END CHILD POVERTY BACKED BY CONSERVATIVES

The Conservatives are signing up to Labour's goal of ending child poverty by 2020, writes the party's policy chief Oliver Letwin in a comment piece in The Guardian (pgs 4, 26). He says 'it is an aspiration, not a pledge, because we do not know how far from it we will be when we enter government'. Mr Letwin hails the work of social entrepreneurs working to end the cycle of deprivation.

The Child Poverty Action Group welcomed the move but called for the Tories to commit to increases in child benefit and child tax credits and greater investment in affordable childcare and housing.

SHAM MARRIAGE CLAMPDOWN IS BIASED, RULES HIGH COURT JUDGE

Regulations designed to curb sham marriages among immigrants are discriminatory because they exempted those who married in Church of England ceremonies, the High Court ruled yesterday, The Times reports (p14).

The Home Office last night suspended dealing with all applications to marry under the scheme from people with less than six months' leave to remain in Britain, until officials have decided what to do about the ruling.

AUTHORITIES BLOCKED FROM PUBLISHING STONE REPORT

Legal action launched by murderer Michael Stone is preventing Kent Social Services, Kent and Medway Strategic Health Authority and Kent Probation Board from publishing an inquiry report, according to The Daily Telegraph (p6).

The inquiry report into Stone's care and treatment before he killed Lin and Megan Russell, was submitted in late 2000 but its publication was held off until Stone's trials and appeals were over.

But Stone is now launching judicial review proceedings, claiming the report will infringe his privacy.

CATHY COME HOME RE-MAKE TO FOCUS ON TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION

A remake of the defining drama on homelessness, Cathy Come Home, is due to be screened in the autumn by BBC1, reports The Independent (p5).

Its director, Dominic Savage, has been researching by visiting hostels and homeless people and says he aims to show the extremes of wealth and poverty and how these collide.

Filming takes place in London from June and the cast is expected to include Colin Firth, and Anne-Marie Duff of Shameless fame.

CARE HOMES FAIL TO REVISE END-OF-LIFE CARE

A government evaluation has found that fewer than one per cent of care homes have revised their procedures for looking after dying people, according to The Guardian (p12).

The report from older people's tsar Ian Philp says there has been little improvement despite new guidelines issued a year ago calling for the terminally ill to have greater control over the final stages of their life. Changes have not happened because most homes operate outside the NHS, the newspaper reports.

BRIXTON RIOT ISSUES `STILL PERTINENT TODAY'

An editorial in The Independent (p26) warns that politicians face the same task that they did 25 years ago after the Brixton riots.

'Stamping out racism in the police force, encouraging employment and improving social conditions in the inner cities remain paramount,' the newspaper says.

GERMAN SCHEME RETRAINS PROSTITUTES AS CARERS

A scheme in Germany is harnessing the `people skills' of prostitutes by retraining them into nursing home workers, reports The Independent (p18).

Rita Keuhen of Diakone Westfalen, a welfare programme, says: 'They have good people skills, aren't easily disgusted and have zero fear of physical contact. These characteristics set them apart. It was an obvious move.'

There are 6,400 nursing home vacancies in the country.

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