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Hilary Benn MP

Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary

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Stories involving Hilary Benn

3 in 4 councils 'dimming lights', say Labour

Three quarters of councils are turning off or dimming street lights to save money, according to new research by the Labour party.

Figures showed 50 local authorities were switching some lights off at night while 106 were either switching off or dimming lights.

The news comes days after councils were warned of financial challenges to come, with more cuts to services expected.

"Our research shows however that significant areas of Britain have been plunged into darkness since May 2010 as a result of David Cameron and Eric Pickles' policies,” Shadow Communities Secretary Hilary Benn said.

Local government minister Penny Mordaunt said councils should be allowed "to make a decision for what suits local people", and denied that local authorities were effectively being forced into the measures by a lack of funding from central government.

"There are 25 councils who’ve given their costs and the amount of money this has saved them. Just between 25 of them this has saved them £10m, and that’s money that can be put into other things," she told BBC News.

"There is no diktat from Whitehall – that’s what happened under the last government, that’s not what’s happening under us."

 


Pickles warns of non-English 'sub-class'

Immigrants who are not taught to speak English "like a native" face life as members of an unemployable "sub-class", Eric Pickles has said.

In an exclusive interview with PoliticsHome's sister publication The House magazine, the Communities Secretary said the Government wanted people to speak adequate English, adding that there would be a £10m grant to help teach immigrants.

Labour have criticised Mr Pickles' language, with Hilary Benn saying he should be "thinking of practical ways to ensure that anyone settling in this country is able to speak English rather than talking about sub-classes".


The government has set out proposals which would license farmers to cull badgers, to help combat tuberculosis in cattle.


Pickles seizes on council 'rich list'

Eric Pickles says details of high wages at local authorities shows there is still room to crack down on "dodgy pay deals and boomerang bosses" at councils. The Communities Secretary was responding to research from the Taxpayers' Alliance which found that over 3,000 council staff were earning over £100,000 a year. Labour's Hilary Benn said the Conservative Party needed to "get their house in order" as the research showed nine out of ten of "top town hall earners" were employed by Tory councils.


Labour plans to open energy market

Labour's "green manifesto" reveals that the party would be prepared to legislate to ensure greater competition in energy markets. The manifesto, released yesterday, revealed it wanted to open the retail energy market which it said was dominated by the "big six".


Environment secretary Hilary Benn has ruled out compulsory insurance for dog owners, saying the government did not want to "penalise" responsible owners. The Conservatives have accused the government of a "humiliating u-turn."