Weekly media roundup – 20/9/14 – 26/9/14

This week has seen 333 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 18 mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Relaxing taxi laws could put children at risk

Thursday 25 September and Friday 26 September

Cllr Ann Lucas, Chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said that plans to relax taxi laws could put children at greater risk of sexual exploitation on BBC News, LBC and BBC Radio 5 Live. Government proposals will allow minicab drivers to let other people drive their vehicles when off-duty without having to pass background checks, the LGA warned. Cllr Lucas said:

"It is imperative that the Government withdraws these plans so councils can continue to fully check everyone getting behind the wheel of a taxi or private hire vehicle to ensure vulnerable children are kept as safe as possible."

The story was also reported by the Telegraph.

BBC News
5 Live – Ann Lucas bulletin
5 Live – Ann Lucas interview
Telegraph p7
LGA press release

Misconduct by local councillors could be going unpunished

Friday 26 September

The Committee on Standards in Public Life warned of a "significant risk" of misconduct by local councillors going unpunished on Sun Online. The report said:

"Local government is now largely self-regulated, with no systematic approach to conduct issues and limited sanctions." An LGA spokesman said: "Each council has a code of conduct to deal with inappropriate conduct of members that was established after the Standards Board for England was abolished."

Sun Online

Road funding piecemeal too stop-and-go, MPs warn

Thursday 25 September

The LGA called for "increased and consistent" roads funding for councils on BBC Online in response to a Public Accounts Committee report criticising the "piecemeal and stop-go" investment in England's road system. Cllr Peter Box, the LGA's Transport Spokesman, said:

"Decades of underfunding by Whitehall and recent severe winters have left large swathes of our roads in disrepair. As the committee rightly recognises, this is leaving councils trapped in an endless cycle of only being able to patch up our deteriorating network."

Cllr Peter Fleming discussed the issue live on BBC News while the story ran across new bulletins throughout the day.

BBC Online
BBC News
BBC News - bulletin
LGA press release

Miliband promises devolution

Wednesday 24 September

LGA Chair Cllr David Sparks made the case for devolution to local areas in the Mirror and on Guardian Online. He said: "Local government has long been making the case for greater freedom from Whitehall to create jobs, support businesses and tackle the issues that matter most to people." Ed Miliband pledged to shift power from Westminster in his speech to the Labour Party Conference

Mirror p8
Guardian Online
LGA press release

A contract to give children a voice

Wednesday 24 September

Society Guardian reported on a roundtable debate on how vulnerable people can be best supported with children's services facing budget cuts and demand soaring. Cllr Nick Forbes, Vice-Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said:

"The prospect of austerity through another Parliament fills most public sector workers with horror and dread."

Guardian p48

Labour needs debate on MPs now, says Ben Bradshaw

Tuesday 23 September

Former Labour cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw backed LGA calls for an urgent constitutional convention to discuss English devolution. Mr Bradshaw told BBC Radio 4'S PM and World Tonight programmes:

"I don't see any reason why there shouldn't be a constitutional convention now. In fact the LGA supports such a move. Let's get on with it."

His comments were also reported on BBC Online.

BBC Online
BBC Radio 4 PM
BBC Radio 4 World Tonight
LGA press release

Constitutional convention

Sunday 21 September

Ed Miliband referenced the LGA's call for a Constitutional Convention on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show.

BBC One – Andrew Marr Show
LGA press release

Cameron's attempt to manipulate the constitution is crudely cynical

Sunday 21 September

Will Hutton called for English cities, including London, to be given revenue raising powers to shape their communities in his Observer comment piece. He added: "The LGA has pressed for change for 50 years."

Observer p48

Families could face higher bills as English regions seek new powers

Saturday 20 September

The Times reported on demands by leaders of English regions and cities for a range of new powers over borrowing, council tax and business rates. Cllr David Sparks, Chair of the LGA, said:

"Local areas need to be set free from the grip of Whitehall and allowed to raise and spend money in a way which will best service the people who live there."

Cllr Jim McMahon, Vice Chair of the LGA, said Manchester was now asking for powers to control further education and job centres and eventually all public services.

Times p8
LGA press release

Scotland's answer poses the English question

Saturday 20 September

BBC West Midlands Political Editor Patrick Burns summarised an interview with Cllr David Sparks on English devolution on BBC Online. He said that Cllr Sparks is

"determined to use his LGA chairmanship to persuade the parties to give local authorities a much freer hand over how they raise or vary local taxes."

BBC Sunday Politics – Cllr Sparks interview
BBC Online

Clegg's free school meal is revealed… one chicken nugget

Saturday 20 September

LGA research published last month into the £25 million funding shortfall for the Government's free schools meal policy was reported by the Mail. It said children aged four were served just one chicken nugget each as part of the Government's new free school meals policy in an unnamed Birmingham school.

Mail p32
LGA press release

26 September 2014