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Home > Latest news week ending 11 September 2009

Latest news week ending 11 September 2009

Published: Thu, 27 Aug 2009 14:32:45
29 cities and local areas candidates for first UK City of Culture
Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw announced the 29 cities and local areas from across the UK who have put themselves forward as potential candidates to become the first ever UK City of Culture in 2013.
They include Aberdeen, Barnsley, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton & Hove, Carlisle, Chester, Chichester, Chorley Council, City of Bath, Cornwall, County Durham, Derby, Derry City, Gloucester & Cheltenham, Hull, Ipswich & Haven Gateway, Leicester City, Manchester, Norwich, Oxford, Pennine Lancashire, Reading, Sheffield, ‘The Countryside’, Urban South Hampshire and Wakefield.
One other city has put its name forward but would prefer not to be named at this stage.
The winning place, to be announced next spring, will host big ticket national cultural events, as well as putting on a year-long programme of their own.
On 9 September Housing Minister John Healey  gave the green light for work to begin building over two thousand new council homes that will help create over five thousand jobs in the construction industry.
Despite the recession this is the biggest council house building programme for almost two decades. Forty seven councils, covering every region of the country, will receive a share of £127million Government funding to help build these homes.
New campaign offers practical support for struggling homeowners
Housing Minister John Healey today launched a new national campaign to help struggling homeowners take control of their finances and make the most of the support available for them to avoid repossessions and stay in their homes.

A series of press, online and billboard advertisements will highlight the measures the Government has put in place at every stage for homeowners to avoid repossession. Over 300,000 people have received help and advice in paying their mortgage since April 2008.

200th academy opens a year early
Ministers celebrated the opening of the 200th new academy with visits around the country highlighting the more than 400 new and refurbished schools that opened this year.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls also announced moves to open up the flagship Academies programme to new sponsors by scrapping the £2 million sponsorship fee.

 Ed Balls said, “We’ve swept away the historic legacy of under-funded and under-resourced schools thanks to our sustained, record capital investment programme over the last decade.

“A world-class education system needs world-class facilities – that’s exactly what we are delivering. This is the largest sustained capital investment in schools for decades – giving parents, teachers and pupils outstanding classroom, music and sports facilities; transforming their aspirations; and driving up standards.”  

Total Place launches website 
The Total Place initiative seeks to identify and avoid overlap and duplication between organisations – delivering a step change in both service improvement and efficiency at the local level, as well as across Whitehall. 

150 employers pledge 85,000 opportunities for young people
The Prime Minister, Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper and top employers signed up to Backing Young Britain met 250 young people at a Youth Summit at Birmingham City Football Club Wednesday, 2 September.


Parliament to hold special regional debates during autumn
English MPs will get a chance to debate the big issues affecting their
regions during September and October when eight new Regional Grand Committees meet for the first time.
Strengthening Local Democracy
This consultation explores whether local government has the powers it needs to meet today's challenges, as part of the Government's drive to renew Britain's democracy and build trust in the political system at all levels.
New £15 million fund to help voluntary organisations through recession
The Targeted Support Fund, worth £15million in total, provides grants between £10,000 and £40,000 to the organisations helping those most at risk of increased deprivation due to the economic downturn. The fund helps them provide support to their communities through a range of recession focused services relating to information and guidance, health and wellbeing, and employment.

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