Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Article excerpt

* The Department for International Development spends more than Elbn a year providing aid to insecure countries despite having limited experience of operating in such areas, according to the National Audit Office. An October 16 report said that, while staff assessed the extent and nature of conflict, this did not always inform the design and management of programmes, while the damaging effects of insecurity hindered progress in reducing poverty. The NAO said that DfID needed to get better and faster at learning lessons from its practical experience.

* MPs have urged councHs to reverse a decline in the number of public toilets. A report from the communities and local government select committee said all local authorities should consult with their communities to develop a public toilet strategy for their area. Committee chair Phyllis Starkey said adopting this duty would 'go a long way towards achieving the right of people who live in and visit this country to have accessible and clean public toilets'. The committee's October 22 report found the provision of public toilets to be patchy. Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh were singled out as cities with poor access to public toilets.

* The government has announced a radical overhaul of the blue badge disabled parking scheme amid concerns that it is being abused. Ministers are considering giving councils the power to confiscate stolen or forged badges. Around one in 200 badges is reported stolen each year and can fetch a price of up to £1,500 on the black market. While the government plans to crack down on abuse, the scope of the scheme is also being extended to include people with temporary but serious mobility problems and young children with specific disabilities.

* Kate Barker, the economist who led the governmentcommissioned review into housing supply, has been appointed to the board of the Homes and Communities Agency. …

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