Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Article excerpt

Young people under the age of 26 are to be offered free theatre tickets as part of a £2.5m government-funded scheme, it was announced on September 23. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that the idea was 'a long-term and sustainable opportunity to engage young people and build a new audience over a period of time'. A spokeswoman said: 'Arts and culture have the ability to enhance and change people's lives. Free theatre follows on from free access to museums and, more recently, free swimming.' Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, denying that the scheme was 'a gimmick', said theatre 'can change people's lives, it can give them new insights, it can broaden their minds and help them achieve their potential'.

* The Post Office has announced the closure of 43 branches in the west of Scotland, beginning in November. The Scottish National Party said the closures would have a devastating effect on communities. Sally Buchanan, Post Office network development manager for Scotland, said: 'These are difficult decisions which have not been taken lightly. We have considered very carefully all the comments made during the public consultation.' The closures are set to affect Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire and Lanarkshire.

* Welsh ministers are to take powers to force public bodies to collaborate on service provision under plans announced by Local Government Minister Brian Gibbons. The step is part of an overhaul of the way service improvements are assessed by councils, national park authorities and fire and rescue authorities. Gibbons' measure also included a step away from judging improvement on the basis of service outputs and efficiencies. Action to encourage local wellbeing, sustainability and fairness will in future be accepted as equally valid ways of demonstrating improvement. …

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