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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."

Councils welcome fracking tax boost plans

The Local Government Association said the Prime Minister's proposals to allow councils to keep all of the cash brought in by business rates from fracking schemes was "a step in the right direction".

A spokesman for the councils' group said:

Councils have been clear that the people and communities whose areas host fracking sites must feel the benefit.

Today's announcement from the Prime Minister is a step in the right direction, which will mean that business rates paid by shale gas firms will help councils to maintain and improve local services for residents.

While it is encouraging that government is listening, local areas will be keen to hear more details on how the community benefits package will be strengthened to fairly renumerate those who will be most affected.

– A Local Government Association spokesman

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Council staff and emergency homes on standby

Local authorities are preparing for the worst this evening and will divert staff from their normal duties to help with emergency relief efforts if required, the Local Government Association said.

Emergency accommodation has been allocated for any families that may need to be evacuated from their homes, and highways teams are on standby to rescue stranded motorists and clean debris from roads.

Councils are preparing for the worst while hoping for the best.

Local authorities up and down the country are preparing to divert staff from their normal duties and have placed additional employees on standby to work with fire crews and other emergency services to get people help if they need it.

– Councillor Mike Jones, chairman of the LGA's environment board

LGA: Councils in danger of 'losing some services'

We are in danger of losing entirely some services, with significant reductions right across the board.

This is a false economy which threatens to shunt additional costs onto the reactive parts of the public sector, particularly our hospitals, prisons and welfare system. There are large hidden costs associated with these cuts which will ultimately leave the taxpayer out of pocket ...

It is unfair to our residents to raise the expectation that trimming 43% from council funding will have no impact on the services they receive.

– Sir Merrick Cockell, LGA chairman

Council services that face squeeze as funding dries up

The body that represents councils in England and Wales has warned that cuts to budgets will result in them "prioritising spending on some services at the expense of others".

Services expected to be prioritised include:

  • Hospitals
  • Prisons
  • Welfare
  • Waste management

Services that could see cuts, or disappear altogether, include:

  • Leisure and cultural facilities
  • Road repairs
  • Home building

Report: Councils face ever-wider 'financial blackhole'

The financial blackhole facing local authorities is widening by £2.1 billion a year amid "counterproductive" cuts to their funding, a new report has warned.

Waste management is one of the areas where costs are expected to rise as councils face a narrowing budget Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the extra 10 percent cut for 2015/16 unveiled in the Spending Review, on top of previously announced cuts of 33 percent, would hit the delivery of public services, while some could be lost altogether.

The LGA believes the costs of running vital services like social care, waste management and the police service will increase against a backdrop of cuts to funding.

This so-called financial blackhole will rise to £14.4 billion by 2020, the LGA said.

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Unlicensed tattoo parlours 'spread HIV and hepatitis'

A professional tattoo artist gets to work at the International Tattoo Convention in Germany Credit: Boris Roessler/DPA/Press Association Images

The Local Government Association says that unlicensed tattoo parlours across the UK are putting users at risk by using unhygienic equipment.

"People looking for a cheap tattoo by using them run the real danger of picking up a serious infection such as Hepatitis or HIV or permanent scarring from botched procedures that are often delivered by these dangerous imposters, said Councillor Mehbook Khan the chairman of the LGA

"Everyone likes a bargain but it is simply not worth the risk to save a few pennies. Ultimately, the tattoo may be cheap but disfigurement or a life-changing health condition could be the final price paid.

LGA urges politicians to reform care for OAPs

Sir Merrick Cockell, the chairman of the Local Government Association, warned about the consequences if there was a failure to reform care for the elderly, in a letter to the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties:

It will increasingly limit the availability of valuable local discretionary services as resources are drawn away to plug the gap in care funding. For too long we have toyed with adult social care reform and failure to act now may be the failure that tips the system over.

Nobody - whether from central or local government, providers, the third sector or the public - wants that to happen so it is incumbent upon us all to bring about real change. This absolutely must include funding and we urge the government to be courageous.

Failing to reach an agreement soon on how to pay for care for the elderly could set a long-term solution back years, the letter cautioned.

Town halls warn over OAP care costs

Pensioners Credit: ITV News

Failure to reform care for the elderly could force the closure of parks, libraries and public toilets as resources are diverted to "plug the gap" in care funding, the leaders of every major council in England and Wales have warned.

In a letter to the leaders of all three main political parties, local government bosses have urged politicians to commit to reforming funding, saying any loss of momentum would be "dangerous".

The letter, written by Sir Merrick Cockell, the chairman of the Local Government Association, which speaks for almost 400 councils in England and Wales, warns lack of action would exacerbate problems of an "already over-stretched" care system and would have a knock-on effect to other services.

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