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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 17:20HRS

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COUNCILLORS ACROSS WALES IN LINE FOR EXPENSES RISE AS PART OF RECRUITMENT DRIVE ...
COUNCILLORS ACROSS WALES IN LINE FOR EXPENSES RISE AS PART OF RECRUITMENT DRIVE

Councillors in Wales are due massive increases in their personal expenses, as part of a National Assembly drive to encourage more people to stand for election. Some local authorities are preparing to almost double their members' allowances as they set their budgets for the new financial year, reports The Western Mail(p1, 29/1/02).

COUNCILS DECLINE PARK'S CALL FOR REGIONAL REPORT INTO FARM DISEASE

Councils across the north of England have shunned the Yorkshire Dales National Park's call for a regional inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis, but local people should still get an opportunity to criticise the government's handling of the epidemic, as the park will send its own comments incorporating these, reports the Yorkshire Post (p8).

HUGE FINE FOR PEST CONTROL PROCEEDINGS TAKES A BITE OUT OF SUPERMARKET'S PROFITS

Supermarket giant Asda was fined£20,000 after a court heard how one of its stores sold a chocolate product which had been gnawed by rodents in spring 2000. Margaret Wells, chair of Birmingham City Council's public protection committee, said pest control failings at the store had fully merited such a large fine, reports the the yorkshirepost.co.uk.

CAMPAIGNER THREATENS COURT BATTLE TO OUST TOWN COUNCIL

Thorne and Moorends Council has been challenged to stand down since a parish poll in November 2000 resulted in a vote of no-confidence. Just over 15 per cent of the 12,554 eligible electorate turned out to vote at the parish poll in November 2000, of whom 1,120, or nine per cent of the eligible voters, said they wanted to ditch the council. A review was promised by Doncaster MBC, but was put on hold in the light of a government white paper on local democ racy, reports the Yorkshire Post(p8).

COMMITTEE CHAIR'S BROTHER THOUGHT TO BE MISSING IN AFGHANISTAN

The sister of a Briton thought to be missing in Afghanistan has spoken of her family's distress at reports that he may have joined the al-Qaida network. Cllr Sayeda Khatun, chair of Sandwell Council's community services scrutiny committee, says she is 'devastated' by claims Munir Ali from Tipton is among four local men who had travelled to Afghanistan to battle against America's war on terror, reports The Birmingham Post(p1).

BIRMINGHAM PLANS TO MAKE 5-YEAR PLAN ENVY OF COUNTRY

Birmingham is on course to become a byword for Britain's best state schools and teaching methods, city education authority officials have claimed. Launching a five-year strategy to improve standards, particularly among disadvantaged youngsters, cabinet education spokesman Roy Pinney said he would accept nothing less than the best, reports The Birmingham Post(p1,10,11).

NATIONAL PARK TO BAN INCOMERS FROM BUILDING NEW HOMES IN ITS AREA

In the first move of its kind in Wales, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is taking action to try to curb the growing number of holiday and retirement homes on its land in an attempt to provide affordable homes for locals. It has proposed that no new housing or building conversions will be allowed along the coastal belt of the county unless applicants are local, or can show essential need, reports The Western Mail(p1).

HAVE NEW TOWNS HAD THEIR DAY?

The New Town dream has become a nightmare for millions of res idents living in the 'failed experiments' of the past, MPs have warned. Peter Bradley (Wrekin) and David Wright (Telford) said New Towns such as Telford could only deal with the challenges facing them if their local authorities were given more freedom. Mr Bradley yesterday called for a radical overhaul of the way New Towns are managed in a parliamentary debate, reports The Birmingham Post(p5).

IN BRIEF:

-- The Audit Commission says public sector fraud is on the increase and becoming more organised. Jill Lewis, anti-fraud and corruption district auditor for Wales, said: 'Technology has given further opportunities for fraud, but older methods such as cheque fraud are also on the increase,' reports The Western Mail(p1).

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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