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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE SUNDAY PAPERS

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PLANNING CONDITION BANS STUDENTS...
PLANNING CONDITION BANS STUDENTS

The Observer reports on a landmark planning decision which bans one group of UK citizens from living in a new housing estate (p18).

Charnwood BC has made it a condition of planning permission for 52 new homes near Loughborough University that students and student landlords be banned from buying the properties.

The newspaper says the move could pave the way for estates across the country to ban students. Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh are watching the experiment carefully, it claimed.

VALUATION OFFICERS SENT ON FOREIGN JAUNTS

Council tax valuation officers are being sent on expenses-paid 'foreign jaunts' in Vancouver, Prague, Alicante and Kuala Lumpur, the Independent on Sunday reports (p13).

And next month a member of the Valuation Office Agency will travel to a conference in Disney World, Florida. The conference will include tickets to the Disney theme park.

The paper says that members of the VOA, which advises John Prescott on valuing property for council tax, spent£4.1m last year on travel, food and hospitality.

The Sunday Telegraph (p13) carries the same story and points out that delegates at the conference in Florida will learn how valuers in Oklahoma used satellite technology to accurately assess a property's value.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister today issued the following statement:

COUNCIL TAX INSPECTORS' TRIPS ABROAD

Media reports that suggest the deputy prime minister plans to send council tax officials to Disney World are inaccurate and misleading.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is an executive agency of HM Revenue & Customs.

Their officials do not work for the deputy prime minister and as such, it is absolute nonsense to suggest that the DPM has sent anyone working for the VOA to the US.

SCHOOL DEBT TOTALS£120M

Government figures reveal that the country's schools were in debt to the tune of£120m last year, according to the Sunday Telegraph (p1).

The paper says that a list of 1,866 schools in financial difficulties runs to 32 pages and ranges from nursery schools to large secondaries.

Nurseries had debts totalling£277,081, primaries£34m and secondaries£86m.

The worst 10 secondary schools were all over£858,000 in the red. The worst hit was North Westminster Community School, under the control of Westminster City Council, which was£1.8m in deficit lat year.

The newspaper quoted a government spokesman saying that it was the responsibility of LEAs to work with schools to balance their books.

CITY ACADEMY UNDER FIRE IN EXCLUSIONS ROW

A city academy is under fire from parents after a zero-tolerance discipline policy led to record numbers of school exclusions, the Sunday Telegraph reports (p14).

The row is at the£22m Trinity Academy School run by the Emmanuel Schools Trust, a Christian organisation founded by the car dealership millionaire Reg Vardy.

The newspaper also highlights the poor performance of several city academies in the recent league tables, and refers to criticism levelled last week at Bexley Academy by school inspectors.

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