Standstill Britain: Local Authorities

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The Independent Online

Councils throughout the country held emergency meetings yesterday to find a way of protecting vital services.

Councils throughout the country held emergency meetings yesterday to find a way of protecting vital services.

Funeral directors have already begun to limit services and in some areas refuse collections were cancelled, schools closed and street cleaning suspended.

Most local authorities said there had been no immediate disruption. Services relying on transport had been assessedto conserve stocks.

Social services, public health, services for the vulnerable and refuse collection have been made priorities and can obtain fuel under emergency powers arrangements.

Rubbish collections have already been suspended in the Vale of Glamorgan. In Medway, Kent, roads are being swept manually and kerbside recycling collections have been cancelled to conserve fuel.

School transport has been one of the services most affected. Councils say their contractors' fuel supplies are dwindling and warned the position would become serious within 24 to 48 hours.

All 19 high schools in the Rhondda Cynon Taff area of South Wales are expected to shut today because parents cannot bring in their children from outlying areas. In Leeds, 1,300 children at 11 special schools have been told their bus service may stop today.

A nursery school in Aberdeen closed yesterday when teachers could not reach work. Four secondary schools will be closed tomorrow - affecting 500 students - because of planned protests in the city.

Funeral directors have approached the Government in a bid to be included in any contingency plans. The SAIF, which represents independent funeral directors, warned that funerals would have to bedelayed unless the crisis was resolved quickly.

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