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Govt commits to protecting 42,000 homes from floods

In an emergency statement to the Commons, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said new government provisions will help protect more than 42,000 households in 2014/2015.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles leaves a Cobra meeting at the Cabinet Office in London Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

"We've already put in place investment plans to improve the protection of at least 465,000 houses by the end of the decade. Together with other projects under construction in 2014/15, we will protect more than 42,00 households," said Pickles.

"The measures the coalition has announced today provide a clear commitment to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. The additional funding means this government will be investing more than £3.1 billion compared to £2.7bn in the previous 5 years under the last Labour government," he added.

Pickles: Taxpayers deserve weekly bin collections

Eric Pickles says people deserve a weekly bin collections service in return for their taxes.He said: "This Government is standing up for hard-working people and getting rid of barmy bin policies which made families' lives hell.

Communities Minister Eric Pickles. Credit: Suzanne Plunkett/PA Wire

"Rubbish collections are the most visible service that people get for their £120 a month council tax bill. People deserve a comprehensive weekly service in return for their taxes.

"We have exposed 10 false fictions from fortnightly bin barons they cling to as excuses for cutting services. If councils adopt this new guide as their 'bin bible', they will be able to save taxpayers' money and still increase the frequency and quality of rubbish and recycling collections."

"Across Britain, there is a clear choice on offer," he added.

"The Government in England is standing up for weekly collections; by contrast, the administrations in Wales and Scotland are moving towards monthly collections."


Pickles urges councils to resume weekly bin collections

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has published a 'bin bible' in a bid to encourage councils scrap "barmy" fortnightly bin collections.

The new guidance for local authorities exposes the claims made by "bin barons" to justify making cuts to services in England, the Conservative Cabinet Minister said.

Eric Pickles maintains recycling rates can be improved alongside weekly bin collections. Credit: Press Association

Mr Pickles has made weekly bin collections one of his top priorities for local government but critics have branded him a "philistine", claiming he has put money for bins ahead of funding for libraries and museums.

The brochure says it is a "clear myth" that councils cannot improve recycling rates without introducing fortnightly collections, setting out how a number of authorities have managed to recycle over half of all rubbish while maintaining weekly pick-ups.

It also dismisses suggestions that the only way to save money is to extend collection times, insisting that "innovative solutions" mean councils can protect weekly collections at little or no extra cost.

Haringey is 'bankrolling a state-sponsored cover-up'

Eric Pickles said Haringey Council is "bankrolling a state-sponsored cover-up" in its payout to Sharon Shoesmith.

The Communities and Local Government Secretary said there should be no rewards for failure in the public or the private sector.

We've been very clear that legal devices like non-disclosure or compromise agreements should not be used to gag staff or brush under the carpet golden goodbyes to senior staff.

I fail to see how Haringey Council's secretive actions are in the public interest, given the astonishing sum of taxpayers' money involved and the immense public concern and upset at the Baby P scandal.

Bankrolling a state-sponsored cover-up is a massive error of judgment by Haringey Council, and compounds their mishandling of the whole affair.

– Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles

Pickles warns of 'parallel universe' with Lib-Lab coalition

A "parallel universe" with a Labour-Lib Dem coalition in power would mean three-day electricity blackouts, votes for prisoners and soaring taxes, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said.

Imagining what could have happened had the Tories not become the senior coalition partners, Mr Pickles warned of a "dour" Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, cursing Tony Blair and listening to the advice of former spin doctor Damian McBride and "policy wonk" Ed Miliband.

Eric Pickles warned a Labour-Lib Dem coalition could see a return to the blackouts of the 1970s. Credit: PA/PA Archive

He told the party conference that the Cabinet would have featured disgraced ex-Lib Dem minister Chris Huhne - elevated to "Lord Huhne of Wormwood Scrubs" - championing prisoner voting rights and "Baron" Len McCluskey, with the Unite leader abolishing Margaret Thatcher's trade union reforms.

"In reality, Gordon may be absent. But they are the same old Labour Party," Mr Pickles added.


Pickles: Cycle of depravation crosses generations

The troubled families scheme is about "trying to break a cycle of depravation that has crossed generations", according to the Communities and Local Government Secretary.

Speaking to Daybreak, Eric Pickles said Bradford Council were still dealing with the same families as he had been dealing with 25-years-ago, when he lead the West Yorkshire local authority.

Troubled families were "a great drain on the nation" and cost the taxpayer "£9 billion a year - £8 billion of which is just reacting to them", he added.

Pickles: 'No nonsense' approach turned families around

The "troubled families" scheme succeed thanks to a "no-nonsense" approach, said Eric Pickles. Credit: PA

The Government's "troubled families" scheme has succeeded in preventing youth crime and getting benefit claimants back to work because of a "no-nonsense" approach, says the man behind it.

Communities and Local Government secretary Eric Pickles praised the work of all 152 local authorities in England who were taking part in the scheme.

His comments came as all the 152 upper tier local authorities announced figures and revealed an extra 14,000 troubled families were taking part.

Mr Pickles said: "These figures show that our no-nonsense and common sense approach is changing these families for the better and benefiting the whole community.

"Considering the often long-standing and deep-seated nature of these families' problems, it is a huge achievement to have turned so many around in such a short space of time.

"And instead of several costly services working with the same family but failing to solve the underlying problems, this approach is both more effective for the family and cheaper too."

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