It's being described as the biggest shake-up in local government in the south east for decades. Plans have been unveiled to create one district council, covering most of East Kent. It would mean merging Thanet, Canterbury, Dover and Shepway councils to cut costs. But it could lead to more than a hundred job losses. The proposals could be approved by councillors tonight. Tom Savvides speaks to pub landlord Clive Franklyn, the leader of Thanet District Council Chris Wells, residents of Canterbury and Professor Richard Scase.
High rents, a housing shortage, a lack of land to build on. So many people are struggling to find anywhere to rent, let alone to buy. Councils are being encouraged to build more social housing to meet that ever-rising demand. But the numbers of new homes remain stubbornly small. Tom Savvides reports from Gillingham where newly-built council homes have been opened. He talks to tenant Samantha Burton, Medway councillor Howard Doe and Housing Minister Gavin Barwell.
A man who was hounded by the council over £8.62p claims he was forced to take his wife's ashes to the town hall to prove she had died.Read the full story ›
There's a desperate shortage of council homes across the south east. But some authorities are addressing the problem, and have starting building programmes. Families have started moving into the first council homes to be built in Medway in more than forty years. In recent times, housing associations have taken over the role of providing accommodation to tenants, who used to rely on councils. Fifty five new homes will built. The council says it's a start. Tom Savvides talks tenant Ken Watson, councillor Howard Doe and the MP Rehman Chishti.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has contacted nearly 2000 housing benefit claimants to warn them of a mistake that means some of their personal details have been given out as part of a Freedom of Information request.
Names and addresses have been passed on but the council say no bank details were released.
The council will carry out its own internal review of its procedures and the Information Commissioner's Office will carry out a separate independent investigation.
With just over two weeks until the county council elections, the Chief Secretary to The Treasury, Danny Alexander, hit the campaign trail in the south east today. He came to Eastbourne, where the Lib Dems have achieved major success.
But the latest opinion polls suggest heavy losses for the party on May the 2nd. David Johns' report contains some flash photography.
Our councils are paying hundreds of their employees over £50,000 a year, and some campaigners say that's just too much. With councils cutting services, can the salaries be justified? Tom Savvides reports.
The Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis has backed the Taxpayers Alliance. He says it's essential that councils get a grip on pay to ensure a fair deal for the taxpayers in their counties and in their districts.
He says local councils still have massive scope to cut costs to protect front line
services, and that the Local Government pay juggernaut must be halted.
Cllr Roger Gough has hit back at accusations that his county council is wasteful. He told ITV News Meridian that as the second largest council in the UK, his organisation pays only what is proportionate.
Hampshire County Council leader Ken Thornber defends his authority, after TaxPayers Alliance criticises number of staff paid £50,000+.Read the full story ›