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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 15:40HRS

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CAR PARKS PRIVATISATION MAY SIGNAL PARKING CHARGES RISE ...
CAR PARKS PRIVATISATION MAY SIGNAL PARKING CHARGES RISE
Birmingham City councillors will decide today whether to back a deal which would place all local authority and NCP car parks throughout the city - 13,351 off-street parking places in all - under the control of a new joint venture company without the council having a controlling interest on the company's board. City council leaders admit most car parks have been allowed to deteriorate over many years, but say they do not have the money required for modernisation, reports the icbirmingham.co.uk website.
COUNCIL ACCEPTS AUDITORS' REPORT BUT DEFENDS ITS CARE HOMES CONTRACT POSITION
Blaenau Gwent CBC, at a special full council meeting last night, formally accepted a highly critical report from auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers into the awarding of a care contract to the wife of a former leader of the council, Cllr Brian Scully. However, the current leader, Cllr John Hopkins, said: 'A contract has not been drawn up, nor could it have been until the resource issue had been resolved,' reports The Western Mail (p5).
COUNCIL LEADER DEFENDS PROCESSES WHICH LEAD TO OPPOSITION COMMITTEE SNUB
Liverpool City Council leader Cllr Mike Storey last night accused opposition Labour councillors of abdicating their responsibilities by snubbing two committees over what the Labour group alleges are 'the undemocratic, secretive processes that the Lib-Dems continue to use in formulating important decisions.' Cllr Storey said: 'They have been offered what is one of the most important scruting committees, the Best Value Select Committee, as well as vice-chair of the Community, Equality and Values,' reports the Daily Post (p7).
COUNCIL'S POLICY COMMITTEE TO DETERMINE CAPITA'S HOUSING FUTURE
A meeting of Lambeth LBC's policy committee on 31 May will hear a recommendation by officers that the Capita-run housing benefit contract should be brought back in-house, which could happen by 1 July. If the proposals for housing benefit in Lambeth are agreed by policy committee, Capita would still run council tax and non-domestic rate collection services and staff on the Lambeth housing benefit contract would return to the council's employment, reports the South London Press (p5).
by Assistant Editor Neil Watson
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