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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE SUNDAY PAPERS

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STEEP RISE IN NUMBERS AND COST OF CHILDREN IN CARE ...
STEEP RISE IN NUMBERS AND COST OF CHILDREN IN CARE

The cost of caring for looked-after children has risen to£1.65bn a year on the back of a 20% rise in numbers over the past decade, the Sunday Telegraph reports(p12).

The paper says an inquiry, commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills, also found that family breakdown, alcohol and drug addiction, children in council care were 'becoming more challenging to care for'.

Two-thirds of children in care are placed with foster carers, with private fostering agencies charging up to£1,000 per child per week. Carers are paid up to£1,000 per child per week.

The inquiry findings, conducted for the DfES by PricewaterhouseCoopers, were published without comment on the department's website this month, the newspaper says.

POLL REVEALS GROWING SCOTTISH SUPPORT FOR INDEPENDENCE

A YouGov poll, commissioned by the Sunday Times, appears to reveal that devolution has created a desire in Scotland for outright independence, the paper reports.

The poll found that 44% of Scots want independence against 42% who favour continued rule from Westminster.

It claims support for independence has almost doubled since 2000, a year after the Scottish Parliament was created.

Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, has said he intends to hold a referendum on independence if he wins power.

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