Weekly media round-up 11/2/17 – 17/2/17

This week has seen 1,106 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 43 LGA mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Social care cuts ‘led to deaths of 30,000 people'

Friday 17 February
The LGA's response to new analysis by the Royal Society of Medicine linking 30,000 excess deaths in 2015 with cuts to health and social care was reported in the Mirror and the Times. Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Community Wellbeing Board, said: "We would urge government to urgently review the evidence behind this analysis. If correct, it would clearly reinforce the desperate need to properly fund social care." Vice Chair of the Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Richard Kemp, appeared on ITV News to discuss the issue.

Times p22
Mirror Online
LGA media release

 

Telehealth criticised by disabled group

Friday 17 February
The i paper reports on campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts saying that pinning hopes on telehealth as the silver bullet for social care savings could leave disabled people a "prisoner in their own home". It cites the LGA's prediction that social care alone faces a funding gap of at least £2.6 billion by 2020.

I paper p6

 

Young carers

Thursday 16 February
The challenges faced by councils in supporting young carers were reportedly widely across BBC Six O'Clock News, BBC News 24, BBC News at Ten, BBC Radio 5 Live, and BBC Radio 4. The LGA said budget cuts at local councils are making it increasingly difficult for these young people to get the support they need.

 

Age UK report warning we are on borrowed time to save social care from collapse

Thursday 16 February
Community Wellbeing Board Chairman Cllr Izzi Seccombe appeared on 5 News discussing our response to Age UK's report on the health and care of older people, and the need to fund adult social care. Our response was also reported on BBC Online. Cllr Seccombe said: "Genuinely new government money is now the only way to protect the services."

BBC Online
LGA media release

 

Rubbish disposal fees could be spurring fly-tipping

Thursday 16 February
ITV reported that rubbish disposal fees charged by council dumps could be spurring on fly-tipping.  In a statement, the LGA said: "Councils want to work with households so that they can dispose of reasonable household waste easily and cost-effectively. Councils already provide a range of bulky waste collection services, which are often free and picked-up from people's doorsteps. There is therefore no excuse for fly-tipping which is criminal, anti-social behaviour that can affect everyone in streets and communities."

ITV Online

 

Self-funding care home residents subsidise council places

Thursday 16 February
The Financial Times reported our lines on social care funding as part of a piece on Laing Buisson's recent report which claimed care home residents who pay their own fees are subsidising council-funded residents by more than £100 a week. Community Wellbeing Board Chairman Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: "This is the stark reality of the consequences of continued underfunding of this vital service. Social care faces a funding gap of £2.6 billion by 2020. Without genuinely new government funding, more providers will leave the publicly funded care market or go out of business completely. The sustainability of the provider market is a particular concern, which is why we have been so clear about the need for genuinely new government money to help stabilise the market."

 

Child sexual abuse: Agencies to get £40m funding boost

Thursday 16 February
Our response to ministers pledging £40 million towards the fight against child sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking was reported in theMetro, Independent, ITV Online and BBC Online. Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Children and Young People Board, said: "It is important the Government recognises the wider funding pressures facing social workers and others trying to deliver services for vulnerable children. While funding individual programmes of work is positive, a co-ordinated long-term strategy and funding to protect all children is vital."

Independent Online
ITV Online
BBC Online

 

Is sex education in UK schools good enough?

Thursday 16 February
The Guardian invites readers to give their reaction to the LGA's call for sex and relationship education to be made compulsory in secondary academies and free schools.

Guardian Online

 

Fly-tipping prosecutions

Wednesday 15 February
An investigation by ITV News finds that only 1 per cent of fly-tipping cases end up in court. Between November 2015 and December 2016, councils prosecuted 2,226 cases of fly-tipping. More than 700,000 incidents were reported. The LGA said: "Prosecuting fly-tippers often requires time-consuming and laborious investigations with a high threshold for proof, at a time when councils face significant budget pressures." Councils want a simpler prosecution process and for offenders to receive bigger "deterrent" penalties.

ITV Online

 

Lack of sex education a ticking time bomb, councils warn

Wednesday 15 February
Our call for sex and relationship education to be made compulsory in secondary academies and free schools was reported by Sky News, BBC Online, Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Mirror, I paper, Mail, Express Online, Sun Online and BBC Radio 2 and 4 news bulletins. Chairman of the Community Wellbeing Board Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: "The lack of compulsory sex and relationship education in academies and free schools is storing up problems for later on in life, creating a ticking sexual health time bomb, as we are seeing in those who have recently left school." Community Wellbeing spokesman Cllr Jonathan McShane took part in a live discussion on Sky News and was also interviewed by BBC Radio London.

BBC Online
Telegraph p8
Mail p19
Sun Online
Guardian p14
Express Online
LGA media release

 

Early deaths among care leavers 'revealed'

Wednesday 15 February
The LGA criticised a report by BBC Online which claimed young people who have grown up in care are far more likely to die in early adulthood than other young people. Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Children and Young People Board, said the BBC's analysis failed to "treat care leavers as a homogenous group, taking no account of factors such as their individual life experiences, their age at coming into care or the amount of support that councils were able to provide". Cllr Watts added: "Research shows that the stability provided by carers can help children to achieve consistently better results at school when compared to children living with their families while receiving social work support, particularly when that care started early."

BBC Online

 

Council tax set to rise 25% in 3 years

Wednesday 15 February
The Mirror reported the LGA's social care funding lines in a story about councils being expected to raise an extra £6 billion a year in council tax by 2020. Cllr Claire Kober, Chair of the Resources Board, said: "Social care faces a funding gap of £2.6 billion by 2020. Services supporting the elderly and disabled are at breaking point. It cannot be left to council taxpayers alone to fix them."

Mirror p6

 

NHS to be hit by business rates rise

Wednesday 15 February
The Telegraph reported the LGA's response to plans by more than 150 health trusts to mount a major test case against a local authority, having had their applications for charitable relief turned down. A spokesman for the LGA said: "We have sought legal advice from counsel. We believe that NHS trusts and foundation trusts are not charities, and that the applications for rate relief are therefore unfounded."

Telegraph p1

 

'Is official policy encouraging fly-tipping?'

Wednesday 15 February
ITV Online published the LGA's response to its fly-tipping investigation which revealed some councils were increasing fees to pay for disposing of DIY, bulky or commercial waste. The LGA said: "Councils want to work with households so that they can dispose of reasonable household waste easily and cost-effectively. However, when items which are clearly inappropriate are taken to household recycling centres they may charge to avoid abuse of facilities intended for use by households, and to offset the high cost of disposing of items that would otherwise fall to council taxpayers."

ITV Online

 

'Unfit' council home payouts and legal fees hit £35m in five years

Tuesday 14 February
The LGA responded to a BBC report which found councils have paid more than £35 million in compensation and legal fees in the past five years to tenants living in "unfit" council homes in England. Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Housing spokesman, said: "The number of 'non-decent' council homes has plummeted in the last 20 years from 746,000 in 2006 to 80,000 in 2016. This is a 90 per cent drop and shows councils are doing a great job in difficult circumstances to ensure homes are at a decent standard. Councils desperately need the powers and access to funding to improve existing housing stock, replace homes and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need."

BBC Online and BBC Radio 5 Live

 

Foster agencies profit by poaching carers

Tuesday 14 February
The LGA responded to a report by the Times which found that private fostering agencies are making millions of pounds by charging councils up to five times the standard rate to place children with carers. Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Children and Young People Board, said: "The LGA has previously raised concerns that some independent agencies are offering substantial incentives as ‘golden hellos' to entice foster carers away from councils, which does nothing to improve the lives of the children and young people who need our help the most. All too often this forces councils to pay higher fees for fostering services, which only serves to cut the amount of money available to help all children."

Times p19

 

Charity shops face rate rise

Tuesday 14 February
The LGA was mentioned on Channel 4 News in relation to a story on the setting of business rates, which we said was a matter for government.

 

Public parks at 'tipping point'

Saturday 11 February
The LGA's response to a report by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee which said public parks are at risk of falling into neglect as funding to maintain them comes under pressure was reported in the Mirror. Cllr Ian Stephens, Chairman of the Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: "Councils understand how important parks are to residents and the value they have in promoting health and fitness, local heritage, public art, festivals and wildlife walks. Councils are taking innovative approaches to using park spaces, such as providing pop-up spaces, hosting local events and giving communities a say in how their parks are run." Deputy Chairman Cllr Peter Fleming discussed the issue on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Many councils are saying actually the park is an asset that can help things around public health, but also around how we bring open spaces for families who live in urban areas as well. But we have to try and balance that spending against those other priorities that councils have, so it is a difficult thing." Our lines were also reported on LBC, Sky News and ITV Online.

Mirror Online
LBC Online
Sky News
ITV Online
LGA media release


20 February 2017