Weekly media roundup - 16/8/14 – 22/8/14

This week has seen 599 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 36 mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

Schools raiding repairs cash to fund free meals

Tuesday 19 August & Wednesday 20 August

LGA research revealing millions of pounds have been diverted to fund universal free school meals ran on the front page of the i and Independent. The LGA said councils are facing a £25 million shortfall to deliver the Government policy and schools are being forced to raid existing budgets to ensure the scheme goes ahead. The Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Mail, Sun, Mirror, ITV Online and Sky News Online also ran the story. Cllr David Simmonds, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, told LBC and Good Morning Britain:

"It cannot be right that for some councils money set aside for maintenance has instead had to be spent plugging the shortfall in money which the Government should have provided for meals."

The story also ran across Sky News bulletins. The Times and Independent also ran follow-up stories on the research the following day.

Independent p1&6
i p1&4
Guardian p5
Times p6
Times p4 (Wednesday)
Telegraph p12
ITV Online
Mail p18
Sun p2
Mirror p2
Sky News Online
LBC Online
Good Morning Britain
Sky News bulletin
LBC – Cllr David Simmonds
LGA press release

English voters want Scottish spending cut after no vote

Wednesday 20 August

Guardian Online reported the key findings of the Future for England 2014 survey that showed English voters oppose sharing the pound with an independent Scotland and want public spending there reduced in the event of a no vote. The article referenced LGA Chair Cllr David Sparks' warning that the "huge funding discrepancy" between Scotland and England was a "timebomb".

Guardian Online

RIP the once-great British High Street

Sunday 17 August

A change in planning rules designed to help clamp down on betting shops could see town centres swamped instead by building societies, banks, accountants, lawyers and estate agents, the LGA told the Sunday Express. New government permitted development rules will mean such businesses will be able to take over shop premises and squeeze out small, independent retailers. Cllr Clyde Loakes, Vice-Chair of the LGA's Environment and Housing Board, said:

"If we want to get people back out shopping in their local high street we need to give them more say on what type of businesses and shops open. Blanket national policies are not the answer and instead will give them much less."

Sunday Express p19

Council dragon attack plans - and other unusual information requests

Saturday 16 August & Sunday 17 August

BBC Online, Mirror, Times, Metro, Sunday Telegraph, Sun on Sunday, Independent Online, Mail Online, ITV Online and the Huffington Post reported the LGA's top 10 most unusual Freedom of Information requests. How a council might protect a town from a dragon attack and whether exorcisms had been carried out on possessed pets were among those listed. Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA's Improvement Board, said:

"While the majority of requests to councils are for details of council policy and expenditure, some of the FOI requests received do not relate very closely to the services they are focused on providing every day of the year. Councils are working very hard to keep local communities running as efficiently as possible during these challenging financial times and anything which distracts from that can affect the value for money that taxpayers receive."

BBC Radio 2, 3, 4 and 5 Live also ran the story across their news bulletins.

BBC Online
Mirror p20
Times p16
Independent Online
Mail Online
ITV Online
Guardian Online
Huffington Post
Sunday Telegraph p2
Sun on Sunday p25
Radio 2
Radio 3
Radio 5 Live
LGA press release

Experts study festival legal highs

Saturday 16 August

Recent LGA warnings about the dangers of laughing gas were referenced by Mail Online and BBC Online as government scientists were sent to V Festival to analyse samples of legal highs.

Mail Online
BBC Online
LGA press release

Cuts lead to mass closures of youth clubs

Saturday 16 August

Cllr David Simmonds, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, responded to a Unison report into £60 million in funding for youth services being cut since 2012 on Sky News. Cllr Simmonds said:

"There are a lot of national schemes for young people and they are not delivering the right bang for the buck. This is a time of national austerity and the government is cutting funding to councils by about 40 per cent. Our big concern is that cash being spent on national programmes is not delivering."

The story also ran on Sky News Online and LBC Online.

Sky News
Sky News Online
LBC Online

22 August 2014