News round-up 28/11: Ministers challenged over growth
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Cabinet ministers are blaming each other for low growth, with political tensions mounting ahead of the Autumn Statement next week, the Financial Times reports. Communities secretary Eric Pickles was asked why a third of enterprise zones did not yet have any business occupants and why local enterprise partnerships were not delivering more jobs. However, the paper says chancellor George Osborne’s bluntest criticism was reserved for culture secretary Maria Miller over slow progress in delivering high speed broadband.
Adult social care
Prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg are close to agreeing a deal to cap social care fees for the elderly at around £75,000, the Daily Telegraph reports. It says the government is “finalising” a plan to provide universal state funding for elderly care for the first time - and is due to announce the plans in the new year. The newspaper reports that a £75,000 cap would cost the government £700m in 2015/16.
Figures showing only three in every hundred people that took part in the government’s flagship ‘back to work’ scheme have found a steady job are a “big embarrassment” to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the Times reports. Ministers were forced to concede the figures were far lower than the minimum target and worse than if there had been no jobs programme at all.
More land must be made available to solve the housing shortage, planning minister Nick Boles will warn tonight. The Daily Telegraph reports that Mr Boles wants to increase built land in England by a third: “If people want to have housing for their kids they have to accept we need to build on some open land”.
A row has broken out between education secretary Michael Gove and business secretary Vince Cable over faith schools, the Guardian reports. Mr Cable has accused the Department for Education of flouting the 2011 Education Act, by allowing Richmond LBC to let a Catholic school open in his Twickenham constituency without first seeking proposals for the establishment of an academy.
Chief education inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has said England’s weak college system is a significant reason why businesses struggle to find skilled employees, the Financial Times reports. The head of Ofsted made the comments as the inspectorate launched its annual report which included results showing that, for a second year running, not a single college had been judged outstanding.
Capita has agreed its biggest education joint venture, agreeing a deal to buy a majority stake in Staffordshire CC’s education services for £32m over three years, the Times reports. A joint-venture 51%-owned by Capita and 49%-owned by Staffordshire will sell services including grounds maintenance, IT installation and maintenance, catering and other administrative tasks. The company aims to generate revenues of more than £2bn over the next 10 years and Staffordshire expects to receive £114.3m of the profits paid in dividends.
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