Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Article excerpt

* Welsh Local Government Minister Brian Gibbons has welcomed the publication of data showing how the quality of local authority services in Wales improved in 2007-08. The Bulletin, published by the Local Government Data Unit, shows that while the standard of most local government services is improving, there is still work to be done to close the wide range of performance between local authorities. Gibbons said: 'Local authorities have made good progress in a number of key areas, including 5% less rubbish going to landfill and 3% more being recycled, fewer children leaving school without a qualification and more vulnerable adults receiving help to live in their own homes.' The figures also showed the first improvement in secondary school attendance for several years, he added.

* Obesity could cost primary care trusts as much as £6.3bn by 2015 unless the problem is addressed, the Department of Health has warned. Guidance, made available to trusts and local authorities and published on October 6, said that the estimated bill in 2007 for dealing with diseases related to obesity was £4.2bn. Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said: Obesity is the biggest health challenge we face - every year 9,000 people die prematurely. And many people simply just don't know that being overweight can lead to major health problems, including heart disease and cancer.'

* The public faces barriers in trying to influence local decisionmaking, including confusion about which decisions are taken at council level and suspicion about 'lip-service' paid to consultation, according to government research. The research, Feeling able to influence local decision-making, was carried out by the National Centre for Social Research for the Department for Communities and Local Government, using analysis of existing data and focus groups with members of the public and groups of local strategic partnership members. …

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