Weekly media round-up 14/1/17 – 20/1/17
This week has seen 909 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 23 LGA mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.
Surrey announces referendum on 15 per cent council tax rise
Friday 20 January
The LGA's estimates about the £2.6 billion funding gap facing social care featured in the FT, Mail and Express as well on Telegraph Online, Guardian Online, Mirror Online, Independent Online, Sky News Online, Metro Online, LBC Online and referenced on BBC News. Surrey County Council announced it will hold a referendum on increasing council tax by 15 per cent to help pay for providing social care. LGA Resources Board Chair Cllr Claire Kober said: "Services supporting the elderly and disabled are at breaking point. It cannot be left to council taxpayers alone to try and fix them." Calling for local government to be central to an "urgent and fundamental review of social care and health", LGA Chairman Lord Porter added: "The Government must recognise why social care matters and treat it as a national priority."
UK community refugee scheme has resettled only two Syrian families
Thursday 19 January
Asylum, Migration and Refugee Task Group Chairman Cllr David Simmonds featured on Guardian Online about how only two Syrian refugee families have been resettled under the Government's community refugee sponsorship scheme, six months after it was unveiled by the Home Secretary and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Cllr Simmonds said it was a cause for concern if "volunteers, who could take some burden off the taxpayer, are not having their offers of help taken up".
Councils get £48m to expand homelessness provision
Wednesday 18 January
Chairman Lord Porter featured in the Guardian with the LGA's statement in response to the Government's announcement of £48 million for councils to deliver the Homelessness Reduction Bill for the first three years. The LGA warned homelessness services face a funding gap of £192 million by the end of the decade and said the true costs of the legislation were difficult to predict. Lord Porter said: "It is impossible to know how many people will come forward to access the new duties, what the impact of the Bill will be on different groups over time, and therefore the funding councils need to deliver duties that reduce homelessness. We ask that the Government commits to reviewing the Bill's impact two years after implementation, to assess its actual impact and to ensure that councils are being fully equipped and funded to deliver the Bill's ambitions."
Housing shortage as 35,000 on waiting lists for 10 years
Tuesday 17 January
The Mirror reported the LGA's call for a reversal in the long-term decline in council housing and concerns about how some government housing reforms risk reducing the number of socially-rented homes available in local communities. At least 104,000 people have been on council housing waiting lists for five years, with 35,000 on waiting lists for 10 years, figures compiled by the Lib Dems reveal. The Government will soon publish a White Paper setting out its plans to boost housing supply. The LGA said it must include powers and funding for councils to provide "genuinely affordable homes". Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board Chairman Cllr Martin Tett said: "There is an urgent need to reverse the long-term decline in council housing in this country. Some government housing reforms risk reducing the number of socially-rented homes available in local communities. Councils fear this will increase housing waiting lists and push more people into the more expensive private rented sector."
Funerals paid for by crowdfunding are on the rise
Monday 16 January
The LGA's concerns about the difficulties for councils in recouping the costs of funerals in cases where no one will or is able to make the arrangements to pay was reported on BBC Online. Crowdfunding for funerals has soared in the past year after figures released by JustGiving reveal that over 2,000 services were funded by donations raised through its website between January and September 2016, four times as many for the same period in 2015. In cases where no one will or is able to make the arrangements to pay for a funeral, councils have a statutory obligation to step in. Costs are recouped from the deceased's estate where possible but the LGA says this can be difficult and places a "significant burden" on councils.
£2.6 billion funding gap facing social care
Monday 16 January
Labour MP Bridget Phillipson cited the LGA's lines in the Commons about how the extra money raised through the adult social care precept will not be enough to meet the estimated £2.6 billion funding gap facing social care, which was reported on BBC Radio 4's Today in Parliament and on BBC News channel's Monday in Parliament programme.
BBC Radio 4's Today in Parliament
BBC News channel's Monday in Parliament
LGA media release
Motorists warned over potholes
Monday 16 January
The LGA's recent release warning that 2017 could be a "tipping point" for tackling potholes as the estimated repair bill for roads in England and Wales could reach £14 billion within two years was reported in the Telegraph, Sun and Mail Online. The LGA's lines were also referenced on LBC and Talk Radio, about an increase in RAC callouts to drivers whose cars have been damaged by potholes. In the past three months the RAC has seen a 24 per cent rise in pothole-damaged vehicles, compared to the same period last year.
Saturday 14 January
A carrot for older generation to downsize from larger homes
The Telegraph reported the LGA's previous suggestions about giving incentives to pensioners to downsize from largely empty family homes to flats and bungalows, as part of measures to ease the housing crisis, and how the money could be recouped with housing moves that otherwise would not have happened. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is to set out plans to tackle the shortage of housing in a White Paper later this month. Saga estimates 111,000 family-sized homes would come onto the market if a stamp duty exemption for downsizing was adopted.
Saturday 14 January
20 January 2017