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

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CONFUSED REPORTS ON HOME OFFICE MOVING ASYLUM SEEKERS FROM GLASGOW ...
CONFUSED REPORTS ON HOME OFFICE MOVING ASYLUM SEEKERS FROM GLASGOW
The home office has re-located seven refugee families to England after harrassment an abuse drove them out of a deprived area of Glasgow, which has seen a wave of attacks in recent weeks, reported Scotland on Sunday(20 May, p1). A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said that he was unaware of any asylum seekers being moved from the city.
COUNCILLOR SLAMS HAGUE FOR 'SAFE HAVEN, NOT SOFT TOUCH' ASYLUM COMMENTS
Councillor Archie Graham of Glasgow City Council, and chair of Glasgow anti-Racist Alliance, said the council regarded its 4,500 asylum seekers as assets 'rather than a drain on resources. Here we have the Tories trying to play the race card. It is not surprising, but it is deeply depressing. The idea of putting them in concentration camps, having fled some of the most terrible regimes in the world, is appalling,' reported The Herald (19 May, p1).
BARNETT BATTLES #1: SUPPORTERS OF SCOTTISH FISCAL AUTONOMY
The growing band of supporters of Scottish fiscal autonomy say it is the natural successor to the Barnett formula. Support is by no means confined to the Scottish National Party, but embracing Lib Dem federalists, some Labour members of the Scottish Parliament and right-of-centre Conservatives, including David Davis, chairman of the house of commons public accounts committee. The case for fiscal autonomy is that it will establish a more responsible link between public spending in Scotland and taxation, and that it could transform Scotland's economic performance, reports The Scotsman(p8).
BARNETT BATTLES #2: FORMER SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY LEADER SPEAKS OUT
In a profile of former SNP leader Alex Salmond, Scotland on Sunday(20 May, p12) considers the SNP's 'slickest-ever' election launch for the party's clarification of its role in post-devolution Scotland. Salmond believes that the Barnett formula and Scottish public spending will be the next battleground at Westminster. 'Scotland's share of public spending fell under the Tories, has continued to fall under New Labour, and will be cut even further and faster after the election if John Prescott gets his way,' he says.
TWO YORKSHIRE TEACHERS PREPARE FOR RECRUITMENT TRIP TO AUSTRALIA
Supply teaching agency TimePlan's offer of free trips to the other side of the world to LEAs and head teachers struggling to find secondary school staff has been taken up by Doncaster and Yorkshire LEAs. A spokesman for Doncaster LEA, one of the first authorities where teachers took industrial action over staff shortages, said: 'We support anything that ensures that the schools in Doncaster are fully staffed at the beginning of term,' reported the Yorkshire Post (19 May, p7).
NEIGHBOURS ASK WHY PENSIONER LAY DEAD IN HOUSE FOR UP TO THREE YEARS
Newsagent Peter Nichools said he contacted the social services department at North Somerset Council after he became concerned in October last year, but was told they could not help. Now he is asking why they did not act earlier. On Saturday a North Somerset Council spokesman, Richard Evans, said social services could not have stepped in without a referral. He said: 'This is a tragic situation. We totally refute that we were unhelpful or uncooperative,' reported the Yorkshire Post (19 May, p7).
LEEDS PROPERTIES TO MAKE WAY FOR SUPERTRAM
The first list of properties to be levelled to make way for the Leeds Supertram was unveiled last Friday, reported the Yorkshire Post (19 May, p10). West Yorkshire's public transport co-ordinator Metro, joint partner in the Supertram scheme with Leeds City Council, revealed that houses, shops, a bar and a church were among properties that would have to be demolished for the scheme to go ahead. Metro said that the number of affected properties in Leeds was relatively small and compendation will be paid to affected owners.
EDINBURGH AND GLASGOW SCORE IN BRITISH TOURISM TOP TEN
Edinburgh secured third place and Glasgow sixth in a survey of 2,000 UK short break customers carried out by Thomas Cook, with Edinburgh scoring on shopping, cleanliness, nightlife, sights and culture. Donald Anderson, Edinburgh City Council leader, said: 'Edinburgh is regularly voted the top destination in Scotland, but it is particularly welcome that the city's cleanliness and shopping were appreciated by visitors,' reported The Herald (19 May, p2).
TORIES WARN OF BIRMINGHAM'S CARE CRISIS
Shadow health secretary Liam Fox has warned that the number of elderly people on the waiting list for long-term care in Birmingham will rise to 1,000 by the end of the year as the city's care crisis shifts from hospitals to the community. Fox accused Birmingham City Council of abusing the system by paying higher fees to council-owned residential homes. The city council's cabinet member for social services, Susanna McCorry, said: 'We are working closely with the health authority to create a system of interim care which will provide convalescence for people coming out of hospitals, enabling them to build up the skills and strength so they can return to their own homes rather than go into institutional care. We do need to step up the pace of change,' reported The Birmingham Post(19 May, p1).
BIRMINGHAM TO LOSE LAST REMNANY OF 19TH CENTURY BREWERY
Despite being classified by local authorities as of historical interest, Birmingham city planners are expected to give permission for a 19th Century canal-side building to be knocked down in order to make way for flats. Richard Hudson, conservation planning officer for Birmingham City Council, said of the DETR's 1989 refusal to list the building: 'We wanted the building to be listed but it didn't make it into the category. There is a little bit of history here and it is all going to go. It's a waste of resources. You have building materials getting chewed up and the release of greenhouse gases. We should be re-using some of these historic buildings,' reported The Birmingham Post(19 May, p3).
HACKNEY TOWN HALL INVADED
More than 300 people smashed their way into Hackney town hall just after 2am yesterday, after a late-night pub closed and an impromptu street party on the surrounding streets became unmanageable. Police in riot gear had to be called to eject the revellers after they broke down the main door and rampaged through the building in Mare Street, smashing doors and windows, reports the Evening Standard(p5).
BRITISH ENERGY TO INITIATE NUCLEAR TALKS WITH NEXT GOVERNMENT
Peter Hollins, chief executive of British Energy, is to initiate talks with the next government about reactivating the development of new nuclear power stations as part of the UK's energy strategy. Hollins plans to approach the government shortly after the election next month in a move that could see British Energy regenerating and commissioning new nuclear plants on a number of its existing sites, including Hunterston in Scotland, reported Business on Sunday'(20 May, p1).
by Assistant Editor Neil Watson
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