Local government sector 'compares to lowest-paying parts of private sector'

Reports that the local government sector in some ways resembles 'some of the lowest-paying and most insecure parts of the private sector' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that "local government employees are as likely to receive tax credits to top up their incomes as workers in the retail sector", according to research by the New Policy Institute think-tank commissioned by Unison. The paper says the research shows "11 per cent of local government workers in England and Wales receive working tax credits – welfare payments to families with low incomes". This means the local government sector "in some ways resembles some of the lowest-paying and most insecure parts of the private sector – namely retail and hospitality".

The Guardian reports that Grosvenor Crescent in London has been named the most expensive street in Britain, according to a list compiled by Lloyds Bank, with its Grade II listed houses changing hands for an average of £16.9 million. "Land registry data shows that prices in Westminster, which includes Grosvenor Crescent, are 18 per cent higher than a year ago," the paper says.

An opinion column in the Independent says a Department of Work and Pensions report published earlier this week "found that one in five high street shops and restaurants (out of 30,000 inspected) is inaccessible to those in wheelchairs". "I was astonished that so many were accessible," Mary Dejevsky says. "Our local library, for instance, was placed by the planners in their wisdom on the lower ground floor of a brand-new building, with only spiral stairs and a disabled lift to reach it - a disabled lift moreover which requires quite some hand strength to operate."

The Times (subscription) reports that "in a new drive to give the public greater access to data held by Whitehall, the cabinet office minister [Francis Maude] said that people would be able to obtain detailed information about water levels in their local area". The information from the Environment Agency will be available to homeowners through "an app on their smartphone", the paper says.

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