Weekly media roundup 04/02/17 – 10/02/17

This week has seen 1,370 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 58 LGA mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Call to end ban on council-run schools sponsoring academies

Friday 10 February
The LGA's release calling for council maintained schools to be given the power to sponsor academy schools, following research which reveals 91 per cent of council maintained schools are rated good or outstanding, was reported on BBC Online. In England, only schools with academy status are allowed to form trusts to sponsor weaker schools. The LGA said a shortage of "good quality" sponsors often left failing schools "in the dark about their future". Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said the figures proved councils had "the track record, experience and expertise to help lift schools out of academic failure". He said: "The Government must commit to removing the unnecessary red tape and give high performing maintained schools the option of becoming academy sponsors."

BBC Online
LGA media release

 

Councils face 14-year backlog to repair potholes

Friday 10 February
Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board Chairman Cllr Martin Tett appeared live on the BBC Daily Politics to discuss the LGA's pothole lines, about how councils face a 14-year backlog of road repairs at a cost of £14 billion.

Cllr Tett on BBC Daily Politics
LGA media release

 

A grand design for housing and the market

Friday 10 Friday
A feature piece in the Times' Property section looking at what the Government's Housing White Paper means for homebuyers, landlords, housebuilders and renters. The Government said it was encouraging more long-term tenancy agreements, and would be speaking to the LGA about councils' appetite to do the same.

Times (Bricks & Mortar) p10

 

Dubs amendment: End of child migrant scheme criticised

Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February
Asylum, Migration and Refugee Task Group Chairman Cllr Simmonds was interviewed live on the BBC News channel and also featured on the BBC Six and Ten O'Clock News,  Channel 4 News, BBC Radio 4's World Tonight, BBC Radio 5 Live, LBC and BBC London. This was in relation to the LGA's response to the Government's announcement on the number of asylum seeking and refugee children resettled by councils under the Dubs amendment, which was also reported in the FT, Guardian, BBC Online, ITV Online and Independent Online. Cllr Simmonds said councils had "demonstrated tremendous leadership at a local, regional and national level in resettling the children from the Calais camp."

Cllr Simmonds on BBC News channel, BBC 6pm and 10pm News, Channel 4 News, BBC Radio 4's World Tonight, BBC Radio 5 Live, LBC
FT p2
Guardian p1
BBC Online
ITV Online
Independent Online
LGA media release

 

Hunt says NHS problems 'unacceptable'

Thursday 9 February
BBC Six O'Clock News reported the LGA's call for extra funds to tackle the social care crisis, after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed that it was on the Government's agenda, following a series of reports about lengthening waits in A&E and patients being left for hours on trolleys. Mr Hunt said the key was to treat more people "at home and in the community" to ease the burden on hard-pressed hospitals: "We recognise the pressure's there. We recognise there is a problem about the sustainability of the social care system. That has to be addressed and we are going to do that."

BBC Six O'Clock News
LGA media release

 

The 10 'longest' hospital delays exposed

Thursday 9 February
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Community Wellbeing Board Chairman, featured on BBC Online and Mail Online with the LGA's warning of a £2.6 billion funding gap facing adult social care by 2020, after an investigation found nearly three quarters of NHS Trusts have seen patients stranded in hospital for more than 100 days in the past three years, due to a lack of care available in the community. Cllr Seccombe said government policies, such as giving councils the ability to increase council tax to pay for care, fell "well short" of what was needed: "Only genuinely new additional government funding for social care will give councils any chance of protecting the services caring for our elderly and disabled and ensure they can enjoy dignified, healthy and independent lives, live in their own community and stay out of hospital for longer."

BBC Online
Mail Online
LGA media release

 

Revenge eviction law 'not working'

Thursday 9 February
The LGA's response to a BBC story claiming the new ‘revenge' eviction law is not working was reported on BBC Online. An LGA spokesman said stopping revenge evictions is a complex legal process: "Councils are working hard to tackle bad practice by rogue landlords to ensure they are dealt with robustly and effectively. However, not only are rogue evictions hard to prove, but a council may not know when an eviction notice is contested in court."

BBC Online

 

Public purse under increased pressure from spending cuts, warns IFS

Wednesday 8 February
LGA Chairman Lord Porter featured in the Mirror with the association's lines on how councils face an overall £5.8 billion funding gap by 2020, following a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies about how further cuts will be needed by the end of the decade to combat the UK's persistent budget deficit. The think-tank warned that the crisis in social care will deepen as funding fails to keep pace with the ageing population and with local government expected to face further cuts. Lord Porter said: "Next year, further government funding cuts will result in local authorities having to make significant reductions to local services. These include filling potholes, collecting waste, maintaining parks and children's and leisure centres."

Mirror p10
LGA media release

 

‘The Government must unlock the money. Because the care crisis is now'

Wednesday 8 February
The Guardian referenced the LGA's release warning how the Care Act risks failure unless the Government announces new money for social care, in an interview with Barbara Keeley, Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Mental Health and Social Care. The LGA said severe underfunding was putting councils at risk of not being able to meet their legal duties under the Care Act and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services called for £1 billion in emergency funding in 2017/18. Keeley said the Government needs to bring forward £700 million of social care money earmarked for the end of the decade. The LGA's call for social care to be properly funded was also reported on the ITV Six O'Clock News.

ITV Six O'Clock News
Guardian p33
LGA media release

 

More affordable housing promised in White Paper

Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 February
Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board Chairman Cllr Martin Tett was interviewed live on the BBC News channel and also featured on ITV News and TalkRadio with the LGA's statement in response to the Government's Housing White Paper. EEHT member Cllr Ed Turner also discussed the LGA's response on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme, which was also reported on BBC Online and across BBC Radio 2 and Radio 5 Live bulletins. The LGA's call for the housing borrowing cap to be lifted was also put to the Housing Minister Gavin Barwell on BBC Newsnight. The LGA said the Housing White Paper contained "some encouraging signs" on increasing housing supply and affordability but called for new powers and funding to allow councils to build affordable homes directly. Cllr Tett said: "This means being able to borrow to invest in housing and to keep 100 per cent of the receipts from properties sold through right to buy to replace homes and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need.

Cllr Tett on BBC News channel, ITV News, TalkRadio
Cllr Turner on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours
BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 5 Live news bulletins
BBC Online
LGA media release

 

Uncertainty over 30 hours free childcare, say councils

Wednesday 8 February
Cllr Richard Watts, Children and Young People Board Chair, featured on BBC Online with the LGA's response to the Family and Childcare Trust's survey into the Government's 30 hours free childcare offer, which revealed that councils are concerned that the quality of care will be reduced as a result.

BBC Online
LGA media release

 

Pay rise will soak up social care budget

Tuesday 7 February
Chairman Lord Porter featured in the Times with the LGA's lines about how extra council tax income will not bring in anywhere near enough money to alleviate the pressures on social care both now and in the future. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid was quoted the LGA's figures of a £2.6 billion social care funding gap facing councils when interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which were also referenced on LBC. Up to 80 per cent of planned council tax rises could be swallowed up by increases in the minimum wage, council leaders warned. The LGA said that increasing the minimum wage will cost councils at least £500 million from April of next year while extra revenues from increasing council tax would bring in £600 million. Lord Porter said: "Council tax rises will not be enough to prevent the need for continued cutbacks to social care services and very many other valued local services."

BBC Radio 4 Today, LBC
Times p6
LGA media release

 

Opinion: Social care crisis needs a Japanese solution

Tuesday 7 February
Columnist Rachel Sylvester cited in the Times the LGA's estimation of a £2.6 billion funding gap for social care by 2020 and argued that the social care precept is "too little too late" to help councils tackle the social care crisis. She said one idea under consideration is to adopt a system similar to Japan, where everyone over the age of 40 pays a one per cent compulsory social insurance levy for long-term care, with the simplest method being to add a penny to national insurance rates for older employees.

Times p25
LGA media release

 

Cambridgeshire taxi drivers' list of convictions revealed

Tuesday 7 February
The LGA's guidance to councils on taxi and private hire vehicles licensing was referenced on BBC Online in a story about taxi drivers in Cambridgeshire holding convictions for violence, drug offences and fraud.

BBC Online
LGA guidance

 

Fire service revamps home visits to focus on most vulnerable

Tuesday 7 February
The LGA's membership of Safe and Well, a joint enterprise with the Chief Fire Officers Association, Public Health England and Age UK was referenced on ITV Online. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is planning to launch the new home visit programme, which will see them working closer with the health sector. The focus of the visits will remain fire safety, but firefighters will also act as the "eyes and ears" for their partner agencies and will offer basic advice and make a referral where they see another issue that requires addressing.

ITV Online

 

Council tax soars to fund social care

Sunday 5 and Monday 6 February
The LGA's estimates of a £2.6 billion shortfall in funding for adult social care by 2020 were reported on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire Show andLBC, together with the Sunday Times, Times, Mail Online and Mirror Online. Householders face the biggest rise in council taxes for a decade as councils look to address the crisis in social care. A survey conducted by the Sunday Times revealed that 28 out of 152 councils have opted for a maximum rise of 4.99 per cent, just below the maximum increase they can impose without holding a referendum of residents. Cllr Claire Kober, Chair of the LGA's Resources Board, 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."

BBC Victoria Derbyshire Show
LBC
Sunday Times p1
Times p4
Mail Online
Mirror Online
LGA media release

 

Councils ignore parking fine appeals

Monday 6 February
BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live reported the LGA's statement in response to the Local Government Ombudsman's report on parking fines, which was also covered in the Times and Express. The watchdog said that drivers may be "paying more than they need to" because of flaws in the system used to issue ten million fines a year. Cllr Martin Tett, Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board Chairman, said: "In the vast majority of cases councils have robust procedures in place and deal rigorously and fairly with any issues about parking fines. By 2040 councils are expected to deal with increases of up to 55 per cent in traffic and up to 86 per cent in congestion."

BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 5 Live
Times p21

Express p5
LGA media release

 

Six-month hospital ordeal exposes crisis in social care

Monday 6 February
Community Wellbeing Board Chairman Cllr Izzi Seccombe featured in the Guardian with the LGA's social care funding lines and the pressure on the care provider market, which is making it difficult to discharge people from hospital into care. This was in relation to the case of an 89-year old woman who was deemed medically fit but was kept in a hospital ward for six months at a cost more than £80,000 to the NHS, highlighting the deepening social care crisis in the UK. The LGA estimated that the social care funding gap will be about £2.6 billion by the end of the decade, leaving councils' budgets a third short. Cllr Seccombe said: "The scale of underfunding is placing the care provider market under huge pressure, making it difficult to discharge people from hospital into care."

Guardian p1
LGA media release

 

Foreign drivers owe councils up to £20 million

Monday 6 February
The Sun reported the LGA's response to new figures showing foreign drivers owe councils up to £20 million in unpaid parking fines, due to EU rules which give non-UK vehicles six months on the roads before they have to register with the DVLA, making the drivers impossible to trace. Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board Chairman Cllr Martin Tett said it was "hugely unfair" on British drivers who pay parking fines. He said the lost fines could have been spent fixing roads.

Sun p28

 

System is ‘close to failure' as PM's council raises tax for social care

Sunday 5 February
An article in the Observer quoted the LGA's lines on the estimated £2.6 billion adult social care funding shortfall faced by councils by 2020 and how councils could face legal challenges over their failure to provide a statutory minimum standard of care. The LGA's estimates that councils face an overall funding shortfall of £5.8 billion were also reported in a separate Observer story about business rates.

Observer p9
Observer p5
LGA media release
LGA media release

 

Charity bag collections being exploited by unlicensed operators

Sunday 5 February
BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates reported the LGA's response to how numerous charity bag collections are taking place illegally, as the companies running them do not have a licence. The association said that a 40 per cent reduction in core government funding over the last Parliament meant councils are having to target their enforcement activity at the most serious cases and would be keen to explore information sharing methods to help identify bogus collectors. The LGA said commercial firms undertaking doorstep collections also need to think about what more they can do to prevent individuals and firms abusing the system.

BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates

 

Higher council tax for empty homes to tackle housing crisis

Saturday 4 February
Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board Chairman Cllr Martin Tett was interviewed on LBC and featured in the Times following government plans to bring hundreds of thousands of empty homes back into use. Owners of vacant properties will be targeted with sharp rises in council tax in a crackdown designed to tackle the housing crisis. Cllr Tett said: "Councils want to help make best value from housing stock and are doing everything they can to reduce the number of empty homes, levels of which have fallen significantly. However, every housing market is unique and there is no silver bullet to the housing crisis. Councils need the tools to ensure the right homes are built in the right places."

Cllr Tett on LBC
Times p4

 

Opinion: Theresa May should use housing white paper to build more council homes

Saturday 4 February
Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey, referenced the LGA's call in an i paper online column about how the restriction on councils' capacity to borrow to build new homes should be removed if the Government is to meet its target of one million new homes by the end of this Parliament.

i paper online

 

Gateshead Council vows to pay nothing for Trump state visit and urges other councils to do the same

Saturday 4 February
The LGA was referenced in a letter written by Gateshead Council about it voting to withhold council resources being used to support Donald Trump's state visit to the UK, which was reported on Independent Online, Mail Online and ITV News Online.  A motion calling Mr Trump's Muslim travel ban "extreme and discriminatory" was passed unanimously by the council which will now write to the LGA "to encourage all councils to take a similar stand".

Independent Online
Mail Online
ITV News Online


20 February 2017