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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 15:05HRS

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HOUSING CHIEF SLATED FOR UNANNOUNCED£2M FUND MOVE ...
HOUSING CHIEF SLATED FOR UNANNOUNCED£2M FUND MOVE

Birmingham City Council's housing chief Cllr Dennis Minnis has been criticised for removing£2.1m from a repairs budget. He had consultated with housing chairman David Thompson, but had no authority to do so without advertising his intention on the council's website. Scrutiny committee chairman Hugh McCallion said yesterday there was great concern over what happened, reports The Birmingham Post (p1).

CALL TO LIFT SECRECY OVER PUBLIC-FUNDED PROJECTS

Projects funded by public money should not be subject to commercial confidentiality even if they are run by private companies, it was urged last night. Today the national assembly is likely to approve a recommendation for the assembly government to press its UK counterpart for commercial confidentiality to be removed from companies run at arm's length from councils, such as that running the controversial Nantygwyddon landfill site, reports The Western Mail(p7).

PRIVATE CARE HOMES' ULTIMATUMS MAY RESULT IN CHAOS

There was a warning of chaos in private care homes in Wales last night with some elderly residents facing eviction as some homes issue 'ultimatums' on substantially-increased fees. The WLGA warned of a 'crisis threatening the security of residents in some private homes,'adding that a number of private home proprietors have rejected the level of fee increases proposed by the local authorities and have issued notices withdrawing from contracts. A new system is being introduced from April and the WLGA chairman, Sir Harry Jones said last night he believes that some private homes are taking advantage of it to raise rates, reports The Western Mail.

EVENING STANDARD GETS TO GRIPS WITH TAXING ISSUE

The Evening Standard's considers the thorny issue of Council Tax: the broad picture, the provisional figures for London's local authorities, and the differential across boundary lines.

IN BRIEF:

-- Many employees may be forced to work on 'jubilee day' this year because of terms outlined in their contracts, employment law consultant Steve Cook of Empire Business Services has warned, reports The Western Mail (p10, 25/2/02).

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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