LGA suggests new priorities for government spending The Local Government Association has set out what it believes should be the governments key priorities in its next spending review, which is due to be published in November. Spending Smarter: A Shared Commitment leads on from the LGAs previous report, in June. This suggested a broad range of proposals aimed at streamlining public services and generating growth, while saving the public purse almost 2bn a year by the end of the parliament. For the government to meet its own priorities, the LGA suggests that it should: l Enable wider integration of social care and health services to deliver savings and improve outcomes l Promote growth and productivity by accepting the case for further devolution of powers and funding that stretches beyond 25November 2015 when the next Spending Review will be published l Help councils adequately resource and deliver high-quality public services by transforming the business-rate mechanism and providing a four-year local government finance settlement l Help councils focus on driving efficiency and value for money through an assessment of the impact of unfunded cost burdens thatcore council budgets are going to face over the spending review period The LGA warns that social care and health services can only become more integrated if both parts of the system are funded appropriately including closing the annual 700m funding gap in social care services. It also recommends creating a transformation fund, worth 2bn in each year of the spending review period, to allow new ways of working to become commonplace. In terms of community safety and trading standards in particular the report notes that 10,000 is not adequate funding to address issues such as organised crime gangs and child exploitation. It recognises that a steady flow of new enforcement responsibilities for trading standards and other regulatory services is not realistic when these services are already stretched. The LGA anticipates that councils will face another 6.3bn of funding pressure by 2019/20. Citizens Advice reveals latest consumer issues Second-hand cars from independent dealers, and mobile phones, generated the most consumer complaints in the past 12 months, according to new research by Citizens Advice. Increasing numbers of people are also reporting issues with cold-calling companies offering call-blocking services. In terms of second-hand cars, the charity revealed that faulty vehicles were the number one gripe, while substandard mobile phone service in particular, poor signal accounted for a quarter of the complaints on that topic. In the past year, ironically, Citizens Advice has dealt with a 72 per cent rise in the number of complaints about cold-calling and attempted bogus selling of callblocking services. People complained of aggressive selling, faulty goods and being unable to cancel contracts after being contacted by companies claiming to offer cold callblocking devices. Legitimate companies offering blockers do not cold call, advised Citizens Advice. ief br s in New From 5 October 2015, a new law will require all retailers in England with 250 or more employees, to charge five pence for single-use plastic carrier bags. It is hoped this will reduce the use and supply of plastic bags, as well as the associated litter that threatens wildlife and causes environmental pollution. Swindlers caught in the act 1 2 3 A son who installed a recording device on his mothers telephone captured the moment she lost thousands of pounds to swindlers and her banks subsequent refusal to refund the money. Nargess Sadjady was tricked out of 12,000 of her savings by scammers pretending to be from her bank, Santander who used her maiden name when first making their approach. After pressure from Radio 4s Money Box programme, Santander and the bank receiving the fraudulently acquired funds, Halifax eventually paid back the money that was taken. Listen to the scam in action. 4 Click numbers for more stories ief n br si New ief n br si New ief n br si New Southwark Trading Standards successfully The Global Food Security programme An updated version of the Guidance on prosecuted businesswoman Kishwar Iqbal, has launched its latest research project, Property Sales has been launched by of Oldham, for food safety-related offences Resilience of the UK food system in a the National Trading Standards Estate over the summer. She was ordered to pay global context. The multi-billion pound, Agency Team. The guidance is intended to 10,364 under the Proceeds of Crime Act. five-year interdisciplinary programme will help property sales businesses to comply Iqbal, a former owner of Africa Choice, in seek to investigate: with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Failsworth, Manchester, was fined a total of l Optimising the productivity, resilience Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and 2,000, with costs of 1,750 awarded against and sustainability of agricultural the Business Protection from Misleading her at Inner London Crown Court. systems and landscapes Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs) when l Optimising resilience of food supply carrying out activities in the UK. It replaces the Office of Fair Tradings Guidance chains, locally and globally l Influencing food choice for health, sustainability and resilience at on Property Sales , which was issued in September 2012. individual and household levels Find out more from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. 1 2 3 4 Click numbers for more stories 1 2 3 4 Click numbers for more stories 1 2 3 4 Click numbers for more stories