Weekly media round-up – 16/05/15 – 21/05/15

This week has seen 469 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 22 LGA mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Children's centres need more funding, say Barnardo's

Friday 22 May

Chairman of the LGA's Children and Young People Board Cllr David Simmonds featured on 'BBC Online' in response to analysis by charity Barnardo's revealing money allocated to children's centres has fallen by 35 per cent in five years. The charity wants the Government to ensure councils have the funding "to prioritise these important services". Cllr Simmonds said: "We welcome the fact that more children and families are using children's centres but, at a time when budgets are stretched, there are limits to what can be achieved when councils are having to serve more families and children with less money."

BBC Online

Call for ban on legal highs as students taken to hospital

Friday 22 May

The LGA's call for an outright ban on legal highs to be included in the Queen's Speech was reported by the 'Telegraph'. It came as two teenage students remained seriously ill in hospital after smoking synthetic cannabis. Cllr Ann Lucas, Chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: "We need an outright ban on legal highs that will enable the closure of head shops and protect the public from devastating consequences."

Telegraph p9

English devolution would save £20 billion, say council leaders

Thursday 21 May

LGA analysis that up to £20 billion a year could be saved if the Chancellor extended his programme for devolution to shire counties and rural areas was reported in 'The Times'. The analysis formed part of a new LGA white paper on English devolution offering an alternative to the Cities Devolution Bill to be announced in next week's Queen's Speech.

Times p16
LGA media release

Struggling councils spend £750,000 on stars

Wednesday 20 May and Friday 22 May

Councils spent more than £750,000 booking celebrity acts last year, according to an investigation by 'The Sun'. The report references the LGA's warning that councils are struggling to protect services following a 40 per cent cut in central government funding since 2010. The LGA's response also featured in 'Express Online', 'Mirror Online', 'Mail Online' and 'Independent Online' while the research was debated by Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn.

Sun p9
Express Online
Mirror Online
Mail Online 
Independent Online 
Mail p17

Norman Lamb was a good but not great care minister

Wednesday May 20

The LGA's analysis that 40 per cent of councils' budgets have been cut over the course of the last parliament was referenced in a 'Guardian Online' profile of former Care Minister Norman Lamb MP.

Guardian Online
LGA media release

From 'false dawn' to 'go further' – what leaders think about city devolution

Wednesday 20 May

LGA Deputy Chair Cllr Sharon Taylor contributed to a 'Guardian Online' debate about the need for devolution to reach all parts of England and the UK. Cllr Taylor said: "The proposed devolution of transport, housing and policing powers is great news for our larger cities, but we want to make sure that the benefits of devolution reach every corner of England and the UK. This will require different approaches to both governance and the powers needed for different areas."

Guardian Online

Feature: We are facing an asbestos time-bomb but ministers don't want to know

Tuesday 19 May

Chairman of the LGA's Children and Young People Board Cllr David Simmonds' recent appearance before the Education Select Committee was referenced in 'The Guardian' in a report about schools being unable to get rid of asbestos from their buildings due to disputes over who pays for the costs. Cllr Simmonds told the Committee that, even where money was allocated under the Priority Schools Building Programme for rebuilding projects, local authorities have still been expected to meet significant parts of the costs – including asbestos removal.

Guardian p34

Hard road ahead as Osborne embarks on mission to reshape state

Tuesday 19 May and Wednesday 20 May

The LGA's letter to 'The Observer' calling for fairer funding for local government was referenced on 'Mail Online', in a preview about George Osborne preparing to announce how he will reduce government spending and the prospect of big changes in the way public services are provided. International news agency Reuters also referred to the LGA's recent letter in a similar preview.

Mail Online
Observer letter

Sexual abuse of disabled adults revealed

Monday 18 May

The LGA's response to an investigation by the BBC's 'Victoria Derbyshire Show' on the sexual abuse of disabled adults ran on 'BBC Online'. Information from 106 councils in England found there were 4,748 reports of sexual abuse against adults with disabilities over the past two years. An LGA spokesman said: "Keeping people safe, including people with learning disabilities, is one of the most important things councils do" and added that "councils work hard to ensure support is available when cases of abuse are referred".

BBC Online

Protecting local services

Sunday 17 May and Monday 18 May

LGA Chair Cllr David Sparks and the LGA Group Leaders urged government to consider the consequences of further funding cuts to councils in a letter to 'The Observer'. It was also followed up by 'Mail Online', 'Express Online' and 'Daily Mirror'. The letter was also discussed as part of newspaper reviews on the BBC's 'Andrew Marr Show' and Sky News' 'Murnaghan' programmes. It said: "The new government must consider the consequences that further funding cuts, without radical reform of the way public money is spent, will have on the services which bind our communities together and protect the most vulnerable. If our public services are to survive the next few years, councils need fairer funding and the freedom to pay for them."

Observer letter p42
Observer report pg 7
Mail Online
Express Online
Mirror p6 (Monday)
BBC Andrew Marr Show
Sky News Murnaghan

Elderly care crisis looms for relatives

Sunday 17 May

The LGA's warning that adult social care funding was in crisis and the system was "buckling under the strain of inadequate funding" were included in a piece by 'The Independent on Sunday'. It followed a warning from the Alzheimer's Society that people looking after ageing relatives could be forced into unemployment.

Independent p22
LGA media release

Local government cannot afford any more cuts

Sunday 17 May

LGA Cllr David Sparks was interviewed on BBC 'Sunday Politics South East' about how local government cannot afford any more cuts and that local authorities need to look into raising income in order to meet increasing demand and mitigate funding reductions.

BBC Sunday Politics South East

Do KFC and McDonald's target the poor? Fast food restaurants concentrated in areas of deprivation

Saturday 16 May

'Mirror Online' pointed to LGA calls for councils to be given greater powers to control the number of fast food outlets in areas following an investigation that revealed they are being built in areas with high levels of deprivation.

Mirror Online
LGA media release

22 May 2015