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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN TODAY'S PAPERS

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TORY HOMES POLICY GREETED WITH SCEPTICISM...
TORY HOMES POLICY GREETED WITH SCEPTICISM

The Tories argued yesterday for the building of more homes in the countryside, with housing spokesman Michael Gove saying most villages could accommodate 25 extra houses and towns several hundred more (Daily Mail p20).

David Cameron also unveiled plans to extend Right to Buy by allowing council tenants to pay rent as mortgage payments. Shelter and the Council for the Protection of Rural England criticised the plans, the latter saying that building more market-price homes would not solve the lack of affordable housing.

POTHOLE ACCIDENT GIRL WINS PAYOUT FROM PLYMOUTH

Plymouth City Council will pay a nine-year-old girl£16,000 in compensation after her bike hit a pothole and she became impaled on the handlebars (Daily Mail p30). Danielle Dickson's bowel was perforated and required surgery, and she still has digestive problems and a scar. Her mother said: 'The pothole had been there for over a year and it even had a white cross sprayed on it, indicating that the council was aware that it was there.'

THEM NEXT DOOR - THE BEST AND WORST OF LOCAL LIFE

A survey on neighbourhood irritations commissioned by supermarket chain Somerfield has found that youths loitering on the street are the most hated aspect of local life (Daily Mail p38), with 38% naming it as a scourge. Lack of parking was the second biggest bugbear (30%), followed by dog mess, litter, noisy neighbours, traffic, untidy gardens and nosy neighbours. Community spirit and friendly neighbours were chosen by 61% of people as their area's most positive feature.

KEN'S CHARGE IDEA TAKEN UP IN ITALIAN CITIES

Tourists are to be charged an entrance fee to visit Venice because of the wear and tear on the city's architecture caused by the armies of sightseers (Independent p26), if mayor Massimo Cacciari puts the plan into effect. The newspaper reports a wave of enthusiasm for such schemes in major cities, inspired by London's congestion charge. Milan's mayor this week announced a pollution charge on vehicles. Bologna's scheme began in June.

YOUR PAY RISE WILL UPSET MR BROWN

Local government workers' 2.9% pay rise from September is one of a number of deals that have significantly breached the Treasury's intended 2% limit (Guardian p5). The chairmen of the independent review bodies are set to ignore Gordon Brown's cap proposal, which he wanted imposed on public sector workers. Their spokesman said inflation indices that take account of housing and fuel costs suggested higher rises should be awarded.

EX-HEAD ON 'MONEY-WASTING' PFI SCHOOLS PROGRAMME

The former head of a PFI-built academy school has criticised the government for using 'ineffective, bureaucratic and money-wasting' firms (Daily Telegraph p2).

Monica Cross quit as head of Enfield's Highlands School in April, accusing school maintenance firm Equion of using cheap building materials, overcharging for work and failing to provide essential services for pupils. She said parts of the school were in dire need of repair after only six years.

Equion said it was chosen for meeting the London borough of Enfield's requirements and 'the solution we put forward was deemed to be affordable and represented good value for money'.

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