Weekly media roundup – 13/9/14 – 19/9/14

This week has seen 309 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 30 mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Call for more local powers for England after Scottish vote

Friday 19 September

LGA Chair Cllr David Sparks called for an urgent meeting of a Constitutional Convention to consider the wider impact of the Scottish referendum result for England on BBC Online, FT Online, Mail Online and ITV Online and in the Telegraph and Guardian. The LGA said new powers being promised to Scotland must now be given to local areas in England and Wales. Cllr Sparks said:

"The clock is ticking and we need to act now. Government must set out a timetable for devolution across England, with a pledge for immediate new powers to areas ready for them now."

Cllr Sparks also discussed the issue on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 4 and LBC. BBC local government correspondent Mike Sergeant also debated the LGA's call in a BBC Online article.

BBC Online 
Telegraph p8
Guardian p4
FT Online
Mail Online
Telegraph Online
ITV Online
BBC Online – Mike Sergeant column
Radio 4/5 Live
LGA press release

Letter: The UK will need to change – whatever the result

Thursday 18 September

Cllr Marianne Overton, Leader of the LGA Independent Group, supported the call for a stronger voice for local people in England whatever the outcome of the Scottish referendum in a Guardian letter. She said:

"On issues such as taxes, housing, schools and housing benefits, England needs the same powers as people in Scotland will be voting on. Genuine devolution for England, Scotland and Wales will give us the freedom and flexibility to be able to tackle these big issues and only constitutional and financial independence for local government will deliver this."

Guardian p36

Barnett formula pledges risk provoking English backlash

Wednesday 17 September

LGA Chair Cllr David Sparks responded to a commitment by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to preserve the Barnett formula in the event of a ‘no' vote in the Scottish referendum in the Guardian and on FT Online. He said:

"If on Friday morning, the UK wakes up to a ‘no' vote, and with it the continuation of the Barnett formula, there will be an even greater need for English devolution to cities and county areas." This, he added, "must be underpinned by a fair and equitable distribution of public money for all of the UK".

Guardian p6
FT Online
LGA press release

Councils risk being short-changed in deals with property developers

Wednesday 17 September

A survey by Localis found councils are seeking redevelopment partners for nearly £14 billion of their total £170 billion property assets over the next five years. The FT said this was to help balance their books as they struggle to plug an LGA-projected £12 billion funding gap by 2020. Localis warned that low valuations on about £2.3 billion of these assets mean that taxpayers' risk losing tens of millions of pounds on the deals.

FT p4

Disillusioned families pool resources for home teaching

Monday 15 September

An interview with Cllr David Simmonds, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, on the school places crisis ran in the Times. It came as growing numbers of families are joining forces to educate their children together at home, having become disillusioned over a shortage of places at local schools. Cllr Simmonds said:

"Perhaps a parent who is good at doing mathematics takes a day off work each week and spends some time with the children from a group of families as an alternative to the traditional parent teaching children at home all the time."

The interview formed the basis of an LBC debate.

Times p17

Victory is in sight for No

Sunday 14 September

Tory, Lib Dem and Labour LGA group leaders Cllr Gary Porter, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Cllr Jim McMahon, called for promises of devolution to Scotland to be matched by immediate transfer of power to local authorities in England, in a joint letter to The Observer. They said:

"If, as we hope, Scotland votes 'no', then five million Scots will be shaping their own taxes, schools and housing benefit. And what's good enough for Scotland should be good enough for England too. Our local areas need the same freedoms to tackle the big issues for residents, from schools and jobs to welfare and housing."

Observer p1 & 42

No such thing as a free lunch

Sunday 14 September

The Observer's Food Monthly supplement referenced recent LGA research into funding for free school meals. The survey found that 47 per cent of councils did not have enough cash, 39 per cent of whom said the schools were going to have to find funds from their existing budgets.

Observer (Food Monthly supplement) p52
LGA press release

Law change needed for 'legal highs', say councils

Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 September

LGA calls for a change in UK law to stop "legal highs" being sold in shops was reported on BBC Online, Mail Online, ITV Online and in the i paper and Star on Sunday. The Government should adopt a similar approach to that taken in Ireland where, instead of banning drugs on a case-by-case basis, all "psychoactive" – brain altering – drugs have been banned. Cllr  Ann Lucas, Chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:

"Legal high shops are becoming endemic to our high streets, which is why we are calling on the Government to introduce robust and vigorous new laws to tackle them."

Cllr Lucas discussed the issue on BBC News and the story ran on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live news bulletins.

BBC Online
i paper p2
Mail Online
Star on Sunday
ITV Online
BBC News
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 5 Live
LGA press release

22 September 2014