Weekly media round-up 22/08/15 – 28/08/15
This week has seen 396 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 33 LGA mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.
Cameron announces 26 new Tory peers in dissolution honours
Friday 28 August
LGA Chairman Cllr Gary Porter was among those given a life peerage in the dissolution honours list, which was reported on BBC Online, Telegraph, Independent and Times. The new peers take the total size of the Upper House to 826. Cllr Jane Scott, Leader of Wiltshire Council, Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill and Leader of North Lincolnshire Council Cllr Elizabeth Redfern were also handed peerages.
Repair delays to crumbling roads threaten cyclists' lives
Friday 28 August
LGA Transport Spokesman Cllr Peter Box featured told Times and Telegraph Online that funding for strategic roads was 40 times higher than that for local roads over the last parliament. It follows concerns about the growing numbers of cyclists who are being injured on crumbling roads, and claims that councils are taking too long to repair potholes. Cllr Box added: "Current funding levels mean councils are only able to keep pace with patching up our roads and filling potholes rather than carrying out more cost-effective and long-term improvements."
Underused firefighters 'should tackle child obesity'
Thursday 27 August
The Mail reported the LGA report showing how firefighters are supporting vulnerable people with issues such as dementia, mental health and domestic abuse. These include taking on new roles such as checking family homes for signs of domestic abuse and handing out cots to troubled families. The LGA said they are embracing a new public health partnership with local authorities as the number of property fires continues to reduce. Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "Firefighters are one of the most trusted professions in the eyes of the public and this makes them uniquely placed to provide critical advice and support to the most vulnerable members of society."
Councils using more bailiffs
Thursday 27 August
Deputy Chairman Cllr Peter Fleming was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours and BBC Radio 5 Live to respond to a report by the Money Advice Trust about council use of bailiffs. The LGA's lines were also reported on Sky News, Good Morning Britain and LBC. Resources Board Chair Cllr Claire Kober was also quoted in the Mail and BBC Online and said householders would have received several warning letters and would have been encouraged to apply for financial support, before bailiffs were used as a last resort. Cllr Kober said: "Councils have a duty to their residents to collect taxes so important services like caring for the elderly, collecting bins and fixing roads are not affected. But we realise that times are tough and will always seek to take a sympathetic and constructive approach."
Crackdown on foreign drivers who dodge UK parking fines
Monday 24 August
Deputy Chairman Cllr Peter Fleming appeared on BBC News, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Online in response to a BBC investigation revealing more councils are using private companies to recover parking fines issued to non-UK registered vehicles. The LGA said that it has been leading the call for some time for foreign drivers to be made more accountable for parking fines and the millions of pounds that foreign drivers are avoiding is money that would be spent filling potholes, providing bus services and tackling the £12 billion roads repair backlog.
Where have all the bricklayers gone?
Sunday 23 August
The LGA's recent Skills to Build analysis of the construction skills shortage in a Sunday Telegraph piece about the housing crisis. Chairman of the LGA's Housing Board Cllr Peter Box said the skills shortage in construction threatens the Government's pledge to build 275,000 affordable homes by 2020. "For too long we have trained too many hairdressers and not enough bricklayers," he added.
Blue Badge thefts double as thieves target disabled
Saturday 22 August
The LGA's media release highlighting the number of disabled parking badges being stolen has more than doubled was reported widely, with Deputy Chairman Cllr Peter Fleming interviewed on BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live, while the story also ran across BBC News, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and LBC news bulletins. The story was also covered in the Independent, i, Mirror, BBC Online and ITV Online. Transport Spokesman Cllr Peter Box said: "Illegally using a Blue Badge is not a victimless crime. Thieves and unscrupulous fraudsters are robbing disabled people of this independence."
Cllr Fleming interviewed on BBC Breakfast
Cllr Fleming interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 4
LGA media release
Thousands stay on with foster families
Saturday 22 August
Deputy Chairman of the LGA Cllr David Simmonds responded to new figures showing 10 times more children are staying with their foster family beyond the age of 18, on BBC Online in. Local authorities said the £44 million they were given to pay for the extra foster care had not covered the costs and children's services were very stretched. Cllr Simmonds said: "We are absolutely committed to ensuring as many of our most vulnerable young people as possible can stay with their foster families if they choose to, but these changes have to be sufficiently resourced."
28 August 2015