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'Spy cars' ban to rein in 'greedy councils'

Banning CCTV cameras on cars will stop "greedy" councils using the method as a "cash cow", Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said.

Nine million parking fines are estimated to be handed out by local councils in England every year, generating £1.3 billion in revenue in 2010, and Mr Pickles believes too many parking tickets were being issued for the "wrong reasons".

Eric Pickles speaking to ITV News. Credit: ITV News

"CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls," the MP said.

"Over-zealous parking enforcement and unreasonable stealth fines by post undermine the high street, push up the cost of living and cost local authorities more in the long term.

"Today the Government is taking urgently needed action to ban this clear abuse of CCTV, which should be used to catch criminals, and not as a cash cow."


Parking guidance to be less 'heavy-handed'

Along with banning CCTV "spy cars" for parking enforcement, other proposals announced by the Government include:

  • Trialling a 25% discount for drivers who lose an appeal against a ticket at tribunal
  • Allowing local residents and firms to demand a review of parking in their area
  • Reforming parking guidance to make it less "heavy-handed" with motorists
  • Maintaining a freeze on parking penalty charges for the remainder of parliament

Govt to ban use of CCTV 'spy cars' for parking fines

Councils will no longer be able to use CCTV "spy cars" to catch drivers who park illegally, as the Government attempts to prevent "over-zealous" enforcement.

Eric Pickles said he wanted to end the 'plague' of parking tickets by post. Credit: PA

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the announcement would outlaw the use of the vehicles as a "money-raising tool for councils" and end the "plague" of parking tickets by post.

The ban on CCTV, both fixed cameras and on cars, will become law through the Deregulation Bill, following a three-month consultation on the issue.

Cameras will still be used to enforce restrictions in bus lanes, on red routes and outside schools.

New powers expected to curb spread of betting shops

The overhaul of rules on gambling may include a change to planning regulations to let councils stop new betting shops open.

The Government is expected to give councils new powers to stop betting shops opening in their area. Credit: Phil Cole/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Under current rules bookmakers do not always need planning permission to open a new outlet.


Unison to consult over strike action after 1% raise offer

Unison said it will consult more than 600,000 of its members over industrial action, describing today's 1% pay rise offer to council workers as "meagre."

It is outrageous that the vast majority of local government workers have effectively been offered another pay cut.

Although the long overdue modest rise for the lowest paid workers is welcome, this offer is another slap in the face for the vast majority of local government workers.

Just this week we learned of the scandal of cabinet ministers happily approving pay rises of up to 36% for their own special advisers, while condemning thousands of other public sector workers to poverty pay.

– Heather Wakefield, Unison head of local government

Local authority employers: 1% pay rise is a fair deal

There is a broad consensus among councils that there should be a pay offer to staff this year.

At a time when local government is tackling the biggest cuts in living memory, this offer balances our commitment to increase the pay of our hardworking employees with the responsibility we have to address the significant financial pressures we face.

We believe that this is a fair deal for employees, given the limits of what we can afford, and a fair deal for the taxpayers and residents who use and pay for the vital services which local government provides.

– Sian Timoney, chair of the employers' side

Council workers will be 'dismayed' by 1% pay rise

The GMB union said council workers will be "dismayed" at being offered another below inflation pay rise.

The extra for the lowest paid is welcome but is worth only a few pence on the hourly rate.

It still leaves the local government workforce as the poor relations of the public sector, and councils can afford more because they are squirrelling away hundreds of millions in reserves.

We will now be consulting GMB members who I expect will say it's not good enough.

– Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB union
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