Weekly media roundup – 12/04/14 – 17/04/14

This week has seen 1,142 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 30 mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Comment: Offer day

Thursday 17 April

'The Guardian's leader column wrote that contrary to predictions, councils with the most pressure on school places still managed to maintain the proportion of children getting into their first choice primary schools yesterday, but warned there are big challenges to come. It cited LGA research showing some areas need to expand the number of primary school places next year by 75 per cent and concludes that:

"Councils are right to argue they should control school-place planning. It is an absurdity that they are legally required to provide a place for every child that needs one without having the power to make it happen."

Guardian p36
LGA press release

Parents find out primary places

Wednesday 16 April

The LGA's calls for councils to have power over opening and running new schools to meet local demand was reported on 'BBC online', 'Telegraph Online', 'Sky News', 'BBC News', BBC 'Radio 5 Live' and LBC on National Offer Day. Parents were to find out whether they have got their preferred primary school place, as for the first time a National Offer Day allocated places across England on the same day. The LGA called for councils to have power over opening and running new schools to meet local demand - and it said that a survey showed such a change would have widespread public support. Cllr Apu Bagchi, Deputy Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said:

"By returning the power to create schools to councils, government could ensure school places for children of all ages can be delivered according to local demand, and in line with the local needs of parents and young people."

Cllr Peter Fleming was also interviewed on the story live on Sky News, whilst Cllr Gerald Vernon- Jackson was interviewed on 'BBC 6 O'clock News'.

BBC Online
BBC News package
BBC Radio 5 Live 
Sky News- Cllr Peter Fleming interview
BBC 6 O'Clock News- Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson interview
Telegraph Online
LGA press release

Councils fine drivers £300 million using CCTV

Tuesday 15 April

The LGA hit out at criticisms by Big Brother Watch of councils using CCTV to catch people parking illegally in 'The Times', 'Telegraph', 'Independent', 'i paper', 'Guardian', 'Metro', 'Sky News Online' and 'ITV Online'. Cllr Peter Box, Chairman of the LGA's Economy and Transport Board, said:

"It is wholly inaccurate and misleading for them to claim councils are alone in warning about the dangers of banning the use of CCTV for parking enforcement. Road safety campaigners, schools, disability and pedestrian charities and councils have all come together to warn the Government that banning CCTV parking enforcement will put school children and disabled pedestrians at risk and worsen road safety."

Cllr Sharon Taylor, LGA Deputy Chairman, discussed the issue on LBC while the LGA response ran across 'BBC News', Sky News and Radio 1 news bulletins.

Times p14
Telegraph p1
Independent p16
i p18
Guardian p13
Metro p23
Sky News Online
Mail Online
ITV Online
Sky News
BBC News
BBC Radio 1
LGA press release

Councils hustled over housing, says National Trust chief

Monday 14 April

The LGA responded on 'BBC Online' and in the 'Telegraph' to claims by National Trust that councils are being "hustled" by the Government to produce local plans quickly and meet housing targets. The organisation's head Chief Dame Helen Ghosh said it meant some English local authorities felt they had to allow greenfield building. An LGA spokesman said:

"The most important thing will always be getting them right and ensuring people have a real say in developments that can support growth in their areas."

BBC Online
Telegraph p2

Council's links to radical Islamists probed by No10

Sunday April 13

An LGA review of Tower Hamlets Council was referenced in Andrew Gilligan's 'Sunday Telegraph' column on the Government's ongoing investigation into the council. It referenced a leaked report about a separate investigation over its link to Islamic extremism. A council spokesman said: "Our approach to diversity, equality and social cohesion has been recognised by our peers and is reflected in the ‘excellent' rating received from the LGA."

Sunday Telegraph p16

More children miss out as baby boom puts squeeze on places

Saturday April 12 & Sunday April 14

'The Times', 'Guardian', 'Mail', 'Telegraph Online' and 'Independent on Sunday' referenced the LGA's recent school places analysis ahead of schools admissions day. About one in 10 children were expected to miss their first choice primary school on national offer day next week as pressure from a baby boom adds to an existing squeeze on places. Families who fail to get children into a preferred school are likely to face an anxious wait until the following week to launch a formal appeals process. Cllr David Simmonds, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said: "It is going to cause concern for parents who have to wait." The LGA said that more primary places were desperately needed across England by 2017 and some schools have resorted to turning libraries and music rooms into classrooms or reduced playground space in a bid to meet the growing demand for places.

Times p17
Telegraph Online
Guardian p19
Mail p13
Independent on Sunday p21

Supermarket staff could win millions in equal pay action

Saturday 12 April

'The Guardian' reported LGA figures which it said showed that 57 councils were still to complete equal pay reviews in 2013. It came as supermarkets were facing having to pay millions of pounds in higher wages and back pay to store staff. Until now equal job evaluation has mainly affected local councils, where jobs are assessed and given pay grades. Birmingham alone has so fair paid around half of its £1.1 billion bill for the back pay settlement.

Guardian p1

17 April 2014