With the right encouragement from government, regional development agencies and local authorities, the internet could enable people on low incomes to barter goods, services or time, cut traffic congestion through ‘virtual commuting’, overcome local digital divides and promote social cohesion, the study claims. But it found that the benefits of the digital economy are spread very unevenly, with a deep north-south divide and local variations. Policies such as clustering make matters worse by starving some areas and over-feeding others, such as Cambridge and the Thames Valley.
London mayor Ken Livingstone’s economic development strategy has come under fire for lacking a long-term vision for the urban renaissance of the whole capital. The Greater London Assembly said this week that the draft strategy, drawn up by the London Development Agency, failed to provide ‘a clear lead for the action of others’ and neglected to set out ‘a strategic framework through which to build consensus and co-ordinated actions’.
The lack of targets or indicators was ‘unacceptable’, and the absence of references to other London strategies, such as spatial development, was ‘surprising’. The assembly called for a clear framework against which the actions of agencies involved in economic development could be tested, rather than a ‘statement of principles’ on sustainable development. Ambitious plans to double the number of prisoners getting jobs after they are released have been published by the government.
The criminal justice system business plan, launched this week, sets a target of getting a million more people actively involved in their communities. The plan also aims to cut by 15% the proportion of prisoners finishing their sentence without basic communication skills. The Prison Service’s new ‘Carat’ service – counselling, assessment, referral, advice and throughcare – will draw up treatment plans to help stop prisoners returning to drug misuse, build self-esteem and bring more order to their lives. Launching the plans, prime minister Tony Blair said the bulk of crime was committed by a hard core of around 100,000 persistent offenders, 60% of whom served sentences of 12 months or less, and 80% of whom were reconvicted within two years. click here for details : Perth Property Valuers