The Daily Telegraph,
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
A campaign to help a 96-year-old former prisoner-of-war remain in his home after Brent Council said doing so was too expensive has raised £10,000 in four days. The council says the cost of a visiting carer is too high and intends to move Robert Clark to a local care facility. He has spent his £50,000 life savings on a £960-a-week live-in carer.
Ministers have said councils should embrace a common sense approach to parking enforcement and aim for a situation where no parking tickets are issued. The guidance, which has been issued to councils by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin calls for verbal warnings for minor offences and suggests drivers who make it back to their vehicles while wardens are still present should avoid tickets. The government has said parking should not be seen as a profit stream by councils. The government has also launched new regulations that instruct local authorities to give motorists overstaying in parking bays in council run car-parks and on the street an extra ten minutes before ticketing them. The Daily Telegraph says the Conservatives promised to “end the war on motorists” and now local authorities must play their part and follow the new guidance.
The Times looks at the issue of “billionaire basements”, the often-controversial construction projects that see large extensions to underground space. It is noted that Kensington and Chelsea Council has recently ruled out approving basements of more than one storey or those which encroach more than fifty feet into garden space, with it said that Westminster Council is considering similar restrictions.
Campaign group False Economy has said 500,000 more people have been taken to court over unpaid council tax this year, with the increase due to the government scrapping council tax benefit in 2013. Three million people were taken to court by local authorities in 2013-14, a 25% increase. Councils can select whether to charge low-income residents and, due to a new budgets which are £490m, or 10% smaller, often do. Of 326 local authorities in England, 244 have introduced charges that all residents are liable for. The Local Government Association said: "Many councils have introduced hardship funds or have changed the way unpaid tax is collected. Councils only take legal action as a last resort." Kris Hopkins, minister for local government, said: "Council tax bills doubled under Labour, and spending on council tax benefit soared to £4bn a year - equivalent to almost £180 a year per taxpaying-household."