Fresh cuts 'will push councils to breaking point'

Reports that council leaders have warned that local authorities 'will be pushed to breaking point' by the latest round of central government cuts to their funding feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that yesterday the communities and local government minister, Kris Hopkins, "announced what he called a fair financial settlement for councils in 2015-16. English councils will face an average cut of 1.8 per cent in spending power and Hopkins said no council would see more than a 6.4 per cent cut". The paper says that umbrella body the Local Government Association "estimates that central funding for councils has shrunk by 40 per cent overall since 2010, and this decrease has come at a time when demand for core services such as child protection and social care of older people is rapidly increasing".

The Guardian also reports that US investors "who planned to evict dozens of families and more than double rents at the New Era estate in east London are on the verge of selling it to an affordable housing provider after a vocal campaign against their ownership". The paper says that Westbrook Partners, "an $11bn asset management firm with offices in Manhattan and Mayfair, is close to agreeing the transfer following negotiations with London’s deputy mayor Richard Blakeway and the elected mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe".

The Independent reports that a Bristol public toilet built in the 1880s has been designated a site of special architectural and historic interest by the heritage watchdog English Heritage. The paper says "English Heritage said individually designed public urinals from this era were ‘increasingly rare’. These ‘often humble structures’ were ‘important to the streetscene of our cities’".

The Times (subscription) reports that one of Britain’s "most influential fund managers has warned that the lights could go out because ministers’ ‘love affair’ with wind farms hurts cheaper, more reliable forms of clean energy". The paper says that Neil Woodford, the founder of Woodford Investment Management, "criticised the government after it threatened last week to cut subsidies to new biomass power station projects".

The Telegraph reports that experts have predicted that a raft of proposed new gas-fired power plants "will be shelved for at least a year after failing to win government subsidies". The paper says "some old power plants could also be at risk of closure after missing out on the payments, potentially worsening the capacity crunch in coming years, they warned".

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