So many problems, so little attention being paid to them

Underfunding to blame for child protection ”crisis”, says report
The Local Government Association has a newsletter of articles from the press that might interest councillors amd council officers. This is today’s. Owl couldn’t reduce the list so here are ALL the topics. SO, SO worrying – all of them.

Underfunding to blame for child protection ”crisis”, says report

Pressure on councils’ safeguarding services in some areas is so severe that often the only way to guarantee safety for children is to take them into care, MPs have said. The report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children, said children and young people in serious need got varying levels of help, or no help at all, depending on where they lived, with budgets influencing interventions. Cllr Roy Perry, Vice Chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “This report is yet further evidence that children’s services are being pushed to the brink.”
Guardian p16, Times p16

Government needs to learn from academy failures that damaged children’s education, MPs say

The Government needs to learn the lessons from high-profile academy failures that have been damaging to children’s education and costly to the taxpayer, MPs have said. The Department for Education did not pay enough attention to scrutiny checks in a rush to convert large numbers of schools into academies, according to a Public Accounts Committee report, which also expressed concern about the levels of support available to struggling schools. Recent LGA analysis revealed that councils are better at turning around failing schools than academy chains. Cllr Roy Perry, Vice Chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “It is only by working with councils and giving them the necessary powers, rather than shutting them out, that we can meet the challenges currently facing the education system.”
Independent Online, Telegraph p2

The end of the road for vital bus services?

An article on bus services highlights the case of a cancer patient’s struggle to get to hospital for treatment and the challenge of councils battling over-stretched budgets to maintain bus routes. A recent LGA report warned that nearly half of all bus routes in England are fully or partially subsidised by councils and were therefore under threat due to austerity measures. Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Transport spokesman, previously said: “Councils know how important buses are for their residents and local economies and are desperate to protect them.”
Guardian p34

Opinion: Matt Hancock’s new role as Health and Social Care Secretary

An editorial in the Times argues that new Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock’s priorities should include “an urgent need to resolve the question of how to fund and organise social care in Britain” and addressing “an enormous amount still to be done in the areas of preventative medicine and lifestyle improvements”.
Times p27

Bosses who revive high street properties are punished with soaring business rate hikes

Thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs are being hit with higher business rates once they renovate dilapidated or rundown stores. Business rates are calculated on the rental value of a property so renovating a run-down site inevitably comes with a rates increase. The Daily Mail is running a campaign ‘save our high streets’ and is calling for a reform of business rates, cuts to parking charges and a fair tax for big internet shopping businesses.
Mail p19

Poor air quality linked to spikes in GP visits

Air pollution leads to spikes in health problems and drives up hospital admissions and visits to the GP, according to a study. The Dundee University report proves an “absolutely clear” link between poor air quality and health problems and researchers said it should serve as a warning to politicians about the serious effects of toxic air pollution on public health.
Guardian p8

New test woe for under 11s

Official figures show that a third of primary school children aren’t achieving higher standards in reading, writing and maths tests, however performance in the SATs exams have improved, with two-thirds reaching the more rigorous requirements, up from just over a half a year ago. Some teachers believe the key stage two tests put too much pressure on young children and does not accurately reflect performance.
Sun p2, Telegraph p2, Guardian Online, i p13, Mail p29

Energy drinks consumption

Public Health Minister, Steve Brine, has warned that children in the UK consume a worryingly high level of energy drinks and is way above the European average. According to Government figures, nearly 70 per cent of ten to 17 year olds consume energy drinks. The Government plans to consult on a ban on children buying the drinks as part of its childhood obesity plan.
Sun p18, Times p4, Telegraph p10, ITV Online, i p21, Express p21

Emerging sex disease MG ‘could become next superbug’

Health experts are warning that a little known sexually transmitted infection could become the next superbug unless people become more vigilant. The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV is launching new advice about MG, which has no symptoms but can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can leave some women infertile.
BBC Online, Times p4

C of E to create 100 new churches as number of Anglicans hits new low

The Church of England will create more than 100 new churches to “revive the Christian faith in coastal areas, market towns and outer urban housing estates” in the face of a record low number of people identifying as Anglicans. Up to 50 new churches will be established in the diocese of Leicester and 16 in the diocese of Manchester.
Guardian p9, Telegraph p8″