Weekly media round-up – 24/01/15 – 30/01/15

This week has seen 465 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 29 mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Labour MPs berate party's ‘top-down thinking'

Friday 30 January

The Leader of the LGA's Labour Group, Cllr Jim McMahon said in a Guardian article that his party needs to relax the stranglehold on local authorities. He said: "Labour is still hung up on the language of postcode lotteries because we are scared of different places receiving different services. But actually the communities across England are so complex that you could not even have a one-size-fits-all for Greater Manchester."

Guardian p19

Freedom of Information Act 10 years on

Friday 30 January

A list published last year of the strangest Freedom of Information requests councils had received featured in articles in the Independent and i paper marking a decade since the Freedom of Information Act came into force.

Independent p39, i p31
LGA media release

Warning over loss of welfare funds

Thursday 29 January

The LGA's warnings about government plans to withdraw funding for local welfare assistance schemes were reported on 'Mail Online' which reported that as many as 50,000 people could be put at greater risk of losing their homes. LGA Chair Cllr David Sparks said: "At a time when councils are tackling the biggest cuts in living memory, many local areas simply cannot afford to keep these schemes going if government withdraws the funding. Government should not renege from its responsibility to those in most need. It needs to review this decision and fully fund local welfare."

Mail Online
LGA media release

Care spend 'cut by fifth in decade'

Thursday 29 January

The LGA said councils have done their best to protect social care spending, in a 'BBC Online' article about how spending on care for people aged 65 and over has fallen by a fifth in England over the last 10 years. The LGA said a 40 per cut to budgets across this Parliament meant "difficult decisions" have had to be made.

BBC Online

£1 billion care bill puts councils on the brink

Wednesday 28 January

The LGA's warnings that £1.1 billion will have to be diverted from libraries, museums and fixing potholes because of the costs of caring for the elderly were reported widely, with Chair Cllr David Sparks interviewed on BBC Radio 4's 'Today programme' and the BBC News channel. The LGA's press release was also reported on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 and BBC 'Radio 5 Live' news bulletins,' ITV Online', 'Guardian Online' and the 'Express'. Cllr Izzi Seccombe was also interviewed on BBC 'Radio 5 Live' about the story. Cllr Sparks said: "Government's failure to properly fund the ever-growing cost of care is short-changing not just those who need it. It is taking a toll on everyone who relies on councils to fix the roads, provide buses and keep our parks, libraries and leisure centres open."

Cllr Sparks on BBC Radio 4's Today
Cllr Sparks on BBC News channel
BBC Radio 2 news bulletin
BBC Radio 4 news bulletin
BBC Radio 5 Live news bulletin
Cllr Seccombe on BBC Radio 5 Live
ITV Online
Guardian Online
Express p8
LGA media release

School transport for disabled children

Wednesday 28 January

Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, Cllr David Simmonds was interviewed on LBC on the cost of transporting disabled children to school, following the row about celebrity Katie Price's use of council-run services to take her disabled son to school.


Country to shiver in sub-zero Arctic wind chill

Wednesday 28 January

The LGA's call for households to look out for their vulnerable neighbours as the big freeze bites was quoted in a 'Telegraph Online' article, ahead of forecasts of plummeting temperatures. Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "As the freeze sets in we need everyone in our communities to be on the look-out for signs that something might be wrong. Councils are out there working extra hard and pulling out all the stops to ensure vital help and support is provided to the needy and vulnerable."

Telegraph online
LGA media release

All fall down, as a third of heads say school buildings not fit for purpose

Tuesday 27 January

Cllr David Simmonds, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, was quoted in 'The Guardian' about the current state of school buildings, after a survey by school support organisation The Key found more than a third of heads said their schools weren't fit for purpose. Cllr Simmonds said: "We would like to see the money brought together into a single capital pot held by the local authority into which schools could bid. It is impossible to manage these sorts of capital projects across the whole country from Whitehall. We should also look at councils being able to borrow to invest in their buildings."

Guardian p40

CCTV: Too many cameras useless, warns surveillance watchdog Tony Porter

Monday 26 January and Tuesday 27 January

The LGA's response to a report on the use of CCTV cameras ran on 'BBC Online' and in the 'Mail', following concerns raised by the UK Surveillance Commissioner Tony Porter. An LGA spokesman said: "In tough financial times, councils are not going to spend money on installing and running CCTV cameras unless they genuinely believe they will work and have local support and many are actually scaling back CCTV operations."

BBC Online
Mail p19

Drivers claim a pothole payout every 11 minutes

Monday 26 January

The LGA's Transport Spokesman Cllr Peter Box was quoted in the 'Mail' which said that nearly 50,000 drivers made claims against councils costing millions of pounds in the last financial year. Figures showed that motorists make a claim for pothole damage to their vehicles every 11 minutes. Cllr Box said: "We need long-term funding to tackle the ever-growing £12 billion roads repair backlog facing the nation. Our fear is that another harsh winter could be the tipping point for our roads."

Mail p28

A third of siblings in care 'forced to live apart'

Monday 26 January

The LGA's response to research which suggest more than a third of children in care in England who have siblings are having to live apart from any of them featured on 'BBC Breakfast', BBC 'Radio 5 Live' and 'BBC Online'. The charity Family Rights Group found almost half of sibling groups in local authority care had been split up. The LGA said the figures showed social workers were keeping siblings together in the vast majority of cases and that councils were doing everything they could to ensure children were placed in the right home. An LGA spokesman said: "Finding loving homes for children who need them is an incredibly difficult job, and social workers will consider all possibilities before making a decision on the best placement."

BBC Breakfast
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Online

Betting firms roll the dice on self-policing problem gambling

Monday 26 January

An agreement between the LGA and the Association of British Bookmakers signed earlier this month, which gives councils a channel to raise concerns about the proliferation of betting shops and fixed-odds betting terminals, was referenced in the 'Telegraph'.

Telegraph p8

Why Labour opposes this fanatical faith in shale gas

Monday 26 January

A 'Guardian Online' article – written by Shadow Energy and Climate Secretary Caroline Flint and Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle – references the LGA's work in helping produce a list of 13 necessary conditions to reform the regulatory regime for shale gas.

Guardian Online

Movers & Shakers

Monday 26 January

The 'FT' reported that former LGA Chairman Sir Merrick Cockell has been hired as Chair of the UK's first municipal bonds agency, to be called the Local Capital Finance Company, as it gets ready to launch. Adrian Bell, Head of Debt Markets for Canaccord Genuity, will be Vice-Chairman.

FT p20

Spending cuts have left the NHS and social care in crisis

Sunday 25 January

As part of the LGA's Show Us You Care Campaign a letter co-signed by Chair Cllr David Sparks and the Royal College of Nursing, NHS Confederation, British Medical Association and Care and Support Alliance was the focus of a front page story in 'The Observer'. It warned about the impact of spending cuts on NHS and social care and said: "It is an inescapable truth that reduced funding for social care has had a knock-on impact on NHS services. Without adequate funding for care, the NHS will continue to be forced to pick up the pieces from a social care system that is not resourced to meet demands."


Calls for obesity action fund

Sunday 25 January

An interview with the LGA's Health Spokesman Cllr Jonathan McShane ran on BBC One 'Sunday Politics North West', regarding the LGA's 100 Days call for an obesity action fund to be set up.

Cllr McShane on BBC One 'Sunday Politics North West'

Parents shortchanged as politicians fail to offer child-friendly policies

Saturday 24 January

The Deputy Money Editor of 'The Times' referenced the LGA's warnings about a lack of school spaces, in a criticism of Education Secretary Nicky Morgan after she accused the LGA of unnecessarily worrying parents over a lack of school places last week.

Times p60

30 January 2015