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Pay rise 'increases local government paybill by £164m'

Local authority employers said the 1% increase offered to council workers today will increase the local government paybill by more than £164 million.

Council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive a 1% pay rise Credit: PA

The offer applies to staff ranging from librarians, refuse collectors and cleaners to social workers and architects, said the employers, who negotiate on behalf of 350 councils.

It does not apply to chief executives, senior officers, teachers or firefighters, who are covered by separate pay arrangements.

The offer follows a similar 1% rise last year, which came after three years of a wage freeze.

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Flooding has left 'daunting trail of destruction'

The Local Government Association said that with an existing £10.5 billion repair backlog for highways, the Government's Bellwin Scheme is not adequate funding to cover repairs caused by the severe weather, and local councils have been left with a "daunting trail of destruction."

The severe weather has left behind a daunting trail of destruction for councils to clear-up and fix.

...While we are pleased the Bellwin Scheme will be activated, the fact remains that Bellwin is severely limited as it does not cover most capital costs.

An emergency highways maintenance fund would provide essential support to those councils who now face hefty and unexpected repair bills as a result of the flooding.

These bills are likely to place significant financial pressures on already stretched council finances and it is vital that local communities are not left to suffer as a result.

– Mike Jones, the LGA's environment and housing board chairman

Flood Recovery Minister Brandon Lewis said "the Government is now fully focused on helping those affected get back on their feet", adding that it was "providing over £3.4 billion in this Parliament and over £5.8 billion in the next for local highways maintenance."

Flood-hit councils ask Government for emergency cash

Councils who are faced with repair bills running into hundreds of millions of pounds in the wake of heavy rain and flooding are calling on the Government for help.

Flood-hit councils Councils are calling on the Government for help. Credit: PA

The Local Government Association wants the Department for Transport to create a highways maintenance emergency fund, similar to the one set up in 2007 following severe flooding, to help affected local authorities with funding for emergency and unforeseeable works to their local roads network.

The LGA said that the Government help plan - the Bellwin Scheme - to assist in times of extreme floods - only goes so far and warned that vital investment in local growth and infrastructure projects could suffer if government does not step in to ease the cost of flood repairs.

Council 'spy cars' could soon be banned in England

So-called 'spy cars' are used by councils to catch illegal parking could soon be banned in England.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says local authorities are misusing the vehicles "a great casino for local authorities to get some more money."

But councils claim they keep traffic moving and improve road safety.

ITV News correspondent Damon Green found one such "spy car" parked in a loading bay:

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Your views: Crackdown on CCTV parking 'snooping'

The government is looking at banning councils in England from using CCTV cameras and "spy cars" to catch people who are parking illegally.

We asked ITV News' Facebook followers what they thought of the results, and here is a few of their views:

It's another way to make money. Fines for everything these days. You can even get a fine if you don't park properly in a car park you've paid to park in.

It's all gone too far.

– JOHN SHAW

About time, councils have too much power to fine motorists extortionate amounts for parking infringements.

– STEVE CLARKE

Good, I am happy if they ban it!!

– Yusef Bougrine

Pickles: 'Public should have a fair deal on parking'

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles told ITV Daybreak that motorists should have a fair deal on parking, and "not find themselves in a situation where that they're worried all the time that if they're a few minutes late they will have a whacking great fine."

He added that the current five minute grace period for parking "should be extended to 15 minutes."

Read: Councils 'bring in more' by charging

One in four councils 'can use CCTV' to enforce parking

One in four local authorities in England have permission to use CCTV or "approved devices" for parking enforcement, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The Department for Transport says CCTV should be used only when it is impractical to use traffic wardens.

One in four local authorities has permission to use CCTV for parking enforcement

Pickles urges to curb councils over parking fines

Councils' use of parking spy cameras are a "step too far", said Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles, who has proposed the practice should be banned.

Mr Pickles told the Daily Telegraph:

We want to rein in these overzealous and unfair rules on parking enforcement, so it focuses on supporting high streets and motorists, not raising money.

Parking spy cameras are just one example of this and a step too far. Public confidence is strengthened in CCTV if it is used to tackle crime, not to raise money for council officers.

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