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So many people in all walks of life, in particular broadcasting (maybe I notice it as I listen to the radio nearly all the time) are getting this very wrong.
Let's look at some examples.
A government is singular therefore when referring to government in a conversation or in writing it should be referred to as having the singluar case: the government is incompetent, the government is treating those on benefits very badly. The instances above refer to the government. It is a single object. What you will hear though is: the government are this and that.
You will also hear sports teams widely referred to in the plural case. A sports team is a single entity, members of a sports team would be referred to in the plural as there may be many members of that team
You will hear or read that The Arsenal are playing really badly at the moment when it should be The Arsenal is playing really badly at the mo. However, if you are referring to the a couple of particular players you would write/say that they (the Arsenal players) are playing badly.
"It's not a council responsibility as the Environment Agency are the relevant authority", NOPE, should read,"It's not a council responsibility as the Environment Agency IS the relevant authority" - one agency therefore SINGULAR
“The Council”? Do they have responsibility?i", NOPE, “The Council?" "Does it have responsibility?"