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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 16:50HRS

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DEFEATED CARE HOME OWNERS PLEDGE TO CONTINUE FIGHT...
DEFEATED CARE HOME OWNERS PLEDGE TO CONTINUE FIGHT

Private care home owners in Birmingham who lost a high court battle for increased council funds last night* pledged to appeal. Angry members of the Birmingham Care Consortium (BCC) said they would take their fight for fair funding to the European Court of Human Rights to get a better deal for the city's elderly, reports The Birmingham Post(p1).

See LGCnet.

BIRMINGHAM LOOKS SET TO ECLIPSE ITS INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Last night, the organisation charged with raising the city's profile, Marketing Birmingham, launched its seven 'big ideas' - landmark regeneration schemes and major events to be implemented during the next decade. But despite the city's bright future, John Edwards, chief executive of Advantage West Midlands, claimed more work needed to be done to improve public opinion of Birmingham. Sir Albert Bore, leader of the city council, told delegates at the llennium Point launch that the city had come a long way in just 15 years, reports The Birmingham Post(p2).

IN DEPTH: DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER MAY EXTEND RIGHT-TO-BUY RESTRICTIONS TO YORKSHIRE

John Prescott yesterday raised the possibility of restricting the right to buy in Leeds and other house price hotspots in Yorkshire. The move came as Leeds City Council revealed its estimate that applications under the scheme to buy council houses would have doubled over the last two years, with actual sales likely to have soared by 35 per cent. The deputy prime minister yesterday reaffirmed his intention to curtail the right to buy scheme in areas where booming house prices could be encouraging the process and diminishing the p rovision of affordable, rented accommodation. Questioned by the Yorkshire Post(p6), Mr Prescott signalled his primary focus for imposing restrictions remained parts of inner London which faced 'real housing crises'. However, when asked whether his restrictions could also extend to places such as Leeds and York where the property market was outpacing much of the rest of the region, he replied: 'I think you are making a fair point if you are talking about high prices in urban houses outside the London area.'

FIREFIGHTERS' BALLOT PAPERS SENT TO WRONG UNION

The first national firefighters' strike in 25 years could face a legal challenge after hundreds of people not entitled to vote were sent ballot papers, reports The Herald (p1). Alleged irregularities and claims of intimidation could result in the validity of the poll being challenged in court.

IN BRIEF:

-- Southwark LBC's Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle is hoping to become Britain's first black female MEP, reports the South London Press (p15). Former Southwark LBC leader Stephanie Elsy is also in the running.

-- The Labour accounting scandal that has engulfed Jack McConnell's local party spread across Scotland last night after it emerged that dozens of other constituency parties had almost certainly failed to declare cash donations from trade unions, reports The Scotsman(p1).

-- MSP Christine Grahame writes in The Scotsmanon the attitude of Scottish Borders Council leader John Ross Scott towards PPP/PFI. Cllr Scott is quoted as saying PPP is 'tried and tested' and his local party attitude towards it is not 'out of kilter' with the national party, although Ms Grahame believed the Liberal Democrats' website suggests otherwise.

-- Glasgow is set to embark on a£ 20m flood prevention scheme in an attempt to tame the notoriously flood-prone White Cart river. Next week, Glasgow City Council will name the Halcrow Group as its consultants on a£1m study aimed at ending floods on Glasgow's south side, reports The Herald (p4).

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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