Weekly media roundup 28/1/17 – 3/2/17

This week has seen 2,298 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 46 LGA mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Councils call for new powers to stop academies 'cherry picking' their students

Friday 3 February
Children and Young People Chair Cllr Richard Watts featured on Telegraph Online with the LGA's call for councils to be given the power to order academies to accept "hard to place" pupils. Academies are "cherry picking" their pupils after statistics revealed by the LGA show that the Education Funding Agency (EFA) has rejected almost 90 per cent of applications from councils to force them to admit a child. Cllr Watts said "Councils have a statutory duty to ensure that all children have a school place and are receiving a good education. By ignoring local council advice the EFA is allowing academies to effectively choose the children they want to admit. There are far stronger safeguards in place to ensure maintained schools do not cherry pick their pupils and the same measures should be in place for all state funded schools."

Telegraph Online
LGA media release


Meet Britain's selfless heroes

Friday 3 February
The Mail reported Children and Young People Board Chair Cllr Richard Watts' comments about how councils face a gap of almost £2 billion in their funding for children's services by the end of the decade, following a new report by the Children's Commissioner for England into young carers.

Mail p40


Funding for mental health services

Thursday 2 February
Community Wellbeing Board member Cllr Jonathan McShane was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme about the proportion of funding for mental health services which comes from local government.

Cllr McShane on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours


Surrey County Council tax rise of 15% approved before public vote

Wednesday 1 February
Resources Board Chair Cllr Claire Kober featured on BBC Online with the LGA's lines on the need for new additional government funding to help fill the funding gap facing adult social care. This followed Surrey County Council's approval of a 15 per cent rise in council tax to help pay for social care, ahead of a referendum on the issue. Cllr Kober said: "After years of striving to keep council tax as low as possible or frozen, many town halls have found themselves having to ask residents to pay more council tax over the next few years, particularly to try and offset some of the spiralling costs of social care. Services supporting the elderly and disabled are at breaking point. It cannot be left to council taxpayers alone to try and fix them. Only genuinely new additional government funding for social care will give councils any chance of protecting the services caring for our elderly and disabled."

BBC Online
LGA media release


Libraries minister promises to act if councils cannot justify cuts

Wednesday 1 February
Chairman Lord Porter's latest comments regarding the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement were reported on Guardian Online following a speech by Libraries Minister Rob Wilson, at the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries (APPG). Lord Porter said: "If councils stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks and open spaces, closed all children's centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres, turned off every street light and shut all discretionary bus routes they would not have saved enough money to plug this gap by the end of the decade." He added that the Government should relax rules for councils on setting business rates in order to meet the shortfall.

Guardian Online


'It's in your interests to care for aged parents'

Wednesday 1 February
Columnist Victoria Lambert referenced the LGA's warnings about the sustainability of the adult social care system in the Telegraph, in a call for families to do more to help care for the elderly. She argues the time for the debate is now as the LGA warns the social care system is in "grave danger of falling apart".

Telegraph p17
LGA media release


Social care in collapse fear

Tuesday 31 January
This front pages of the Telegraph and Mail reported the LGA's warning that the Care Act faces failure unless government announces new money for social care, as part of the association's Budget submission to the Treasury. This was also reported in the Times, Guardian, Sun, Mirror and Express. Community Wellbeing Board Chairman Cllr Izzi Seccombe was also interviewed live on LBC and CWB member Cllr Jonathan McShane also appeared on Good Morning Britain .The UK's social care system is in "grave danger of falling apart" because of underfunding and a growing number of people in need of social care are being left stranded in hospitals, the LGA warned. Cllr Seccombe said: "The intentions and the spirit of the Care Act that aims to help people to live well and independently, are in grave danger of falling apart and failing, unless new funding is announced by government for adult social care. It is not good enough just to be trying to help someone get washed and dressed. Adult social care is about much more than this."

Cllr Seccombe interviewed on LBC
Cllr McShane on Good Morning Britain
Telegraph p1
Mail p1
Times p2

Sun p6
Guardian p15
Mirror p2
Express p2
LGA media release


Adult care ‘faces £2.6 billion shortfall'

Tuesday 31 January
The LGA's lines that councils face a £2.6 billion funding gap by 2020 between the amount of money social care services need and their budgets was reported in the Guardian and referenced on BBC Radio 4's Today in Parliament programme. Council leaders said some local authorities are finding it so hard to provide the right level of social care support that they could face a high court legal challenge.

BBC Radio 4's Today in Parliament
Guardian p15
LGA media release


MPs criticise wealthier locations refusing to house asylum seekers

Tuesday 31 January
Asylum, Migration and Refugee Task Group Chairman Cllr David Simmonds was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, following the LGA's response to the Home Affairs Select Committee report into asylum accommodation, which was also covered in the FT, Guardian, Mail, Express and BBC Online. Asylum seekers must be placed in prosperous parts of the country to ease the burden on public services in poorer areas, the committee said. Cllr Simmonds said: "Councils are stepping up to the plate. We hope the Government's future contracts for asylum accommodation and support address the challenges in securing accommodation in other local authority areas, particularly where there is limited availability and high-cost housing."

Cllr Simmonds interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme
FT p2
Guardian p10
Mail p30
BBC Online
LGA media release


Case over school pupil's term-time holiday reaches Supreme Court

Tuesday 31 January
FT Online referenced the LGA's previous comments about how schools should be allowed to take a "common sense" approach and give "individual consideration" to parents' requests for taking children out of school during term time. This was ahead of a legal challenge at the Supreme Court against a father who refused to pay a £120 fine for taking his daughter on holiday during her school term . Isle of Wight Council and the Department for Education brought the challenge against Jon Platt to bolster a 2013 rule that forbids headteachers from granting a leave of absence to pupils unless "exceptional circumstances" prevail.

FT Online


Bookmakers' fury at 'flawed' gambling report by MPs

Tuesday 31 January
Safer and Stronger Communities Board Chair Cllr Simon Blackburn featured on BBC Online with the LGA's response to an All Party Parliamentary Group review of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), which recommends maximum stakes are reduced from £100 to £2.

BBC Online
LGA media release


Social care linked to smoking costing English councils £760 million a year

Monday 30 January
Community Wellbeing Board Chairman Cllr Izzi Seccombe featured in the Guardian with the LGA's response to a study by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, which found that smoking is costing councils £760 million a year in social care costs. Cllr Seccombe said: "Social care faces a funding gap of least £2.6 billion by 2020, and government needs to urgently inject genuinely new money into the support councils provide for our elderly and vulnerable residents. The cuts by government to councils' public health grants of nearly 10 per cent – approximately £530 million over five years – also threaten to undermine the good work councils are doing around smoking cessation."

Guardian p11
LGA media release


'257 killed or maimed by potholes'

Sunday 29 January
The LGA's call for greater funding for road repairs was reported in the People, about how more than 250 cyclists have been killed or badly injured by potholes between 2010 and 2015, according to government statistics uncovered by the Liberal Democrats. The LGA said the overall repair bill to fill all potholes is likely to reach £14 billion within two years.

People p28
LGA media release


Ban lorries from using car satnavs, say councils

Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January
Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board Chairman Cllr Martin Tett was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme and featured on Sky News, BBC News channel, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky News Radio, LBC and all BBC local radio news bulletins, about the LGA's release calling for lorry drivers to be banned from using satnavs specifically designed for cars. This was also reported in the Mirror, Express, i paper, People and Sun on Sunday as well as on BBC Online, Sky News Online, ITV Online, Mail Online and LBC Online. Cllr Tett said: "There has been a spate of recent accidents involving lorry drivers driving irresponsibly and causing chaos. The Government must start taking this issue more seriously and give councils the legislative tools to help their communities and other motorists. It is common sense that all lorry drivers should use satnavs designed for trucks, but this is only going to become a reality when it is a mandatory requirement. We are talking about a very small extra cost to drivers. Lorry drivers who get wedged in narrow roads or under bridges not only endanger themselves, other road users and pedestrians, but also cause massive disruption. This has a significant impact on local economies, particularly in rural areas."

Cllr Tett interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Today, Sky News, BBC News Channel, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky News Radio, LBC, BBC local radio
Mirror p4
Express p23
i paper p10
People p6
Sun on Sunday p35
BBC Online
Sky News Online
ITV Online
Mail Online
LBC Online
LGA media release


Schools 'cherry-picking' pupils who apply mid-year, says report

Saturday 28 January
BBC Online reported the LGA's response to a report by the Chief Schools Adjudicator for England, Shan Scott, about how vulnerable children can struggle to find a school place if they apply mid-year, with some schools "cherry-picking" pupils. Under rules brought in by the Coalition government, schools that managed their own admissions, including academies and some faith schools, sometimes had "time-consuming" procedures for admitting pupils in the middle of the school year, which could result in "a child being out of school longer than should be necessary", she wrote. Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said: "Councils have a statutory duty to ensure that all children have a school place and are receiving a good education. There are far stronger safeguards in place to ensure maintained schools do not cherry-pick their pupils and the same measures should be in place for all state-funded schools."

BBC Online


20 February 2017