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.
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."
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".
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
22 September 2014
19 September 2014
12 September 2014
5 September 2014
29 August 2014
22 August 2014