Birmingham's devolution experiment is facing a financial crisis after the City Council admitted it has no idea how much is actually being spent on the power-to-the-people pledge.
It is known that the 11 district committees dubbed mini-town halls when they were established two years ago - are overspending on management costs by #250,000 a year.
But an attempt to discover the true cost of devolution failed when the council's corporate finance director said figures were not available.
Brendan Arnold told a scrutiny committee: "The council does not, as a matter of course, collect information about the cost of devolution and localisation."
The West Midlands has been named as one of the most violent places to live in a new report from the Home Office.
Gun crime, murder and other violent crime is higher here than almost anywhere else in the country - even though the number of offences involving firearms is falling.
Gun crime has fallen to 959 incidents, down from 1,138 in the West Midlands.
But this still comes to 37 offences per 100,000 people - higher than anywhere except London and Greater Manchester.
For decades, it was the rallying cry for retired colonels, Alf Garnett wannabes and everyone who thought the country had gone to the dogs.
"Bring back national service!", they would cry.
From the end of the Second World War until 1963, Britain practised conscription during peacetime, as every young man was obliged to join the armed forces for up to two years.
Some died in places like Korea, others were used for guinea pigs in atomic tests, and the whole idea was arguably alien to British traditions.
But the era of national service is also seen as a period when youngsters were taught discipline, camaraderie and loyalty to their country.
* Should national service return? Read the arguments for and against in Friday's Birmingham Post - then tell us what you think *
Incompetent managers including one who faked his CV to get a job are to blame for an NHS budget crisis which could close four hospitals, an MP has claimed.
But Government Ministers are ultimately responsible for failing to ensure hospital executives are competent, said MP Philip Dunne (Con Ludlow).
He was speaking in a House of Commons debate on health services in Shropshire, where four community hospitals are threatened with closure.
Local health services have run up debts of #36 million, and are spending #25 million above their budgets annually.
As a result, Shropshire County Primary Care Trust is considering closing community hospitals in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Bishop's Castle and Whitchurch.
See Friday's Birmingham Post for more on these stories