Weekly media round-up 09/07/16 – 15/07/16

This week has seen 358 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 19 LGA mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Council drops 18 legal cases against term time holidays

Thursday 14 July

The Mail reported the LGA's call for clarity about fines for parents who take their children out of school on holiday during term time, following the decision by West Sussex County Council and other local authorities to drop legal action and penalty fines.

Chairman of the LGA's Children and Young People Board Cllr Roy Perry said: "Councils have a legal responsibility to make sure children attend school regularly, and where children have been removed from lessons in anything other than 'exceptional' circumstances, have been issuing fines to parents in accordance with clear Department for Education guidance. The recent High Court ruling has, however, created significant confusion. Schools and councils must not be left in any doubt about the law, and must be trusted to do what is best for children."

Mail Online

 

How much does it cost UK councils to take in refugees?

Thursday 14 July

Guardian Online reported the LGA's leading role in calling for greater national coordination around the vulnerable persons relocation scheme, in a piece about how much it costs councils to take in refugees.

Guardian Online

 

Open all hours: behind the scenes of the UK's night-time economy

Thursday 14 July

Licensing spokesman Cllr Tony Page featured on Guardian Online discussing the issue of late-night licences provided by councils. The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) claims night-time operators are badly affected by "overzealous" regulation of the night-time economy. Cllr Page said: "Local authorities will consider various factors when determining an application for a late-night licence, which will be granted if the premises can demonstrate appropriate safety measures, including the ability of people to disperse quickly and quietly when the premises close so as not to have an adverse impact on neighbouring businesses and residents. In a few cases, where there has been a track record of problems at certain premises, such as serious violence or compelling evidence of ongoing drug use, councils will consider reviewing or revoking the licence."

Guardian Online

 

Council tax rises 'fail to stop care cuts'

Wednesday 13 July

Senior Vice-Chair Cllr Nick Forbes featured in the Telegraph and Guardian Online in response to the ADASS Budget Survey 2016, which showed that the council tax social care precept will not bring in enough money to plug social care funding gaps. According to ADASS' survey of all 151 social care directors, they still face a shortfall of nearly £1 billion. It said councils had no option but to reduce the services. Cllr Forbes said: "It cannot be solely left to local council taxpayers to fix our chronically underfunded social care system. Councils, care providers, charities and the NHS are all united around the need for central government to fully fund adult social care as this is vital to ensure our loved ones enjoy the dignified and independent quality of life they deserve. As a starting point, the Government should bring forward £700 million of desperately needed social care funding earmarked for the end of the decade to allow councils to protect vital social care services essential to easing the pressure on care providers and on the NHS."

Telegraph p2
Guardian Online
LGA media release

 

Disabled people call for return of Independent Living Fund

Wednesday 13 July

Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder Cllr Izzi Seccombe featured in the Guardian, in response to research by Disability Rights UK showing more than 120 councils have absorbed Independent Living Fund money into their social care budgets. Campaigners warn the financial support from the ILF has been critical to being able to help people live independently and are urging councils to ensure former ILF recipients still receive support. Cllr Seccombe said: "Council social care budgets are under huge pressure and, without adequate funding to support those who would have previously qualified for ILF, this will create an extra burden on councils' already over-stretched resources."

Guardian p34

 

England's black markets revealed

Wednesday 13 July

The LGA's press release calling for the public to report all suspected scams to help tackle the £9.7 billion annual cost of fraud in the UK was reported on BBC Online and in the i paper. The trade in fake goods is putting hundreds of jobs at risk, experts have warned, after a BBC investigation showed the extent of the black market in England's biggest cities. Trading standards figures showed hotspots in Manchester, Birmingham and Newham in east London. Commonly copied items included Beats by Dr Dre headphones, phone covers and cigarettes. The LGA said recent scams investigated by councils included bogus bailiffs demanding fictitious debts.

BBC Online
i paper p43
LGA media release

 

'Life-saving' course on managing diabetes benefiting few patients

Wednesday 13 July

Guardian Online included Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder Cllr Izzi Seccombe's response to a call by Diabetes UK for greater awareness of the risks of the condition and help to bring about wholesale changes in lifestyle. Many patients with diabetes are at risk of blindness, amputation and even death because so few of them attend courses about how to manage their condition, according to the charity. Only 8,274 of the 144,352 people newly diagnosed with the disease in England and Wales in 2014/15 went to a diabetes education course, which advises patients on how to stay as healthy as possible. Cllr Seccombe said: "The figures are alarming and confirm that diabetes is one of the fastest-growing health challenges facing the UK today. We need to increase awareness of the risks, bring about wholesale changes in lifestyle, improve self-management among people with diabetes and improve access to integrated diabetes care services."

Guardian Online
LGA media release

 

Obituary: Death of former secretary of the LGA Labour Group

Tuesday 12 July

The Telegraph reported on the death of Brian White, Labour MP for Milton Keynes North-East from 1997 to 2005 and a former secretary of the LGA Labour Group, aged 59.

Telegraph p33

 

Schools out before summer

Tuesday 12 July

The LGA's calls for a common-sense approach to school term time holidays were referenced in the Sunday Times. Feature writer Sian Griffiths said teachers were bracing themselves for "a wave of absenteeism" as families made the most of cheap family holidays before the end of term. She highlighted how Parliament is to debate whether to keep fining parents who take their children out of school. She quoted the LGA as saying the current law is impractical and that there should be a common-sense approach. An LGA spokesman said: "Blanket bans do not work. It shouldn't be that a tragedy has to befall a family for a child to get leave during term-time. There are just times when a family should be able to come together to celebrate without worrying about prosecution or being fined."

Sunday Times magazine p26
LGA media release

 

Councils call for crackdown on fraudsters

Saturday 9 and Monday 11 July

The LGA's press release highlighting what councils are doing to tackle scams and rogue traders during National Scams Awareness Month was reported on LBC news bulletins and in the Mail, Sun, Mail Online, Express Online, BBC Online, ITV Online and i paper. Cowboy roofers, bogus faith healers, fake parking ticket wardens and disreputable letting agents are ripping off five million Britons a year, costing them almost £10 billion annually. The LGA urged people to report all suspected scams to help tackle the £9.7 billion annual cost of fraud to UK citizens. Safer and Stronger Communities Board Chair Cllr Simon Blackburn said: "Scams damage people's lives, both financially and emotionally. Victims of fraud can lose thousands of pounds and feel anxious and scared due to being harassed by people every day. It also creates significant costs for taxpayers as elderly victims in particular often require more care and support after they have been scammed. Scammers often target the vulnerable but anyone can be fooled by a bogus businessman or scheme, as fraudsters are always devising new ways to trick people out of their savings. Trading Standards teams see at first hand the devastation but victims should not suffer in silence or feel embarrassed. By reporting a scam, people can help someone else avoid being a victim."

LBC news bulletins
Mail p42
Sun p34
i paper p42 (Monday)
Mail Online
Express Online
BBC Online
ITV Online
LGA media release


18 July 2016