Monday 3 March 2003

By Amy Taylor, Nicola Barry and Alex
Dobson.

Asylum: The Joke’s On Us

More than 1,000 refugees were granted entry to Britain and given
help to gain employment last December under a deal to close the
Sangatte refugee camp, but only a few have found work.

The asylum seekers were given work permits, job advice, free
accommodation and pocket money with the aim that they would find
employment within three months, but hardly any are currently in
employment.

Source:- Daily Mail Saturday 1 March page 1

Blunkett pushes for refugee safe havens

Friday’s home office asylum figures, showing that over 110,000
people applied for asylum in Britain last year, have spurred home
secretary David Blunkett to attempt to obtain European backing for
his “safe havens” plan.

The 20 per cent rise in applications is believed to be due to
increased levels from Iraq and Zimbabwe.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 1 March page 9

We have police in our sights, says race
watchdog

The new chairperson of the Commission for Racial Equality has
pledged to tackle the police over the disproportionately high level
of black people subject to stop and search procedures.

Trevor Phillips said that police racial “bias” would be “very
much in our sights”.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 1 March page 9

Refugees rush to beat benefit curbs

The highest ever number of asylum seekers last year has been
partly due to a burst to beat new restrictions on benefits payments
and an increase in numbers from Zimbabwe and Iraq.

There were almost 9,000 applications for asylum in October, the
highest monthly total, the same month as when new benefits measures
were passing through parliament.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Saturday 1 March page
6

Surge in asylum claims forces £1bn Treasury
handout

In the wake of new asylum figures from the home office showing
record levels of applications last year, Chancellor Gordon Brown
has approved payments of nearly £1 billion to pay for the cost
of the increasing levels of asylum seekers.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 1 March page 2

Wandsworth defends council tax rise of 46 per
cent

The Tory council of Wandsworth has said it will uphold its
council tax rise of 46 per cent, and criticised a government threat
to cap councils that follow “unreasonable” increases.

The authority blames the government’s “grants carve-up” for its
increase.

Source:- The Times Saturday 1 March page 16

Britain to repatriate Afghan refugees

The first forced repatriation of Afghans living in Britain
regarded at economic migrants, will take place next month as part
of the government’s latest measure to curb the number of asylum
seekers in Britain.

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 2 March page 6

Church leaders slam mental health reforms

Over 270 senior church of England leaders have given support to
a motion that labels the government’s draft mental health bill
“unworkable and regressive”.

Members of the General Synod, the Church’s decision-making body,
showed their concern at their annual meeting held last week.

“Not only will public safety overrule human rights, but people
with learning disabilities will be liable to detention,” said the
Archdeacon of Lincoln.

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 2 March page 8

Prescott threat to cap ‘excessive’ council tax
rises

The deputy prime minister John Prescott said yesterday that
local authorities planning “excessive” council tax rises could face
having their budgets capped.

He said the caps could be set in place immediately and
criticised local authorities such as Wandsworth, which are planning
to impose a council tax rise of 46 per cent.

Source:- The Sunday Times 2 March page 13

Shrinking number of psychiatrists sparks
crisis

Pressure on mental health services, extra bureaucracy and a
deepening blame culture are the causes of a shortage of
psychiatrists, according to a study by the Royal College of
Psychiatrists.

The research found that around one consultant in three plans to
retire early.

Source:- The Observer 2 March page 2

Welcome to Immigration Central. Please join the queue:
your number is 110,001…

As asylum seeker numbers reach record levels, we join the throng
at the centre that decides their fate.

Source:- The Observer 2 March page 13

Boy aged ten sues social services… for not taking
him away from the parents who abused him

A 10-year-old boy is suing Essex council because he claims
social workers should have taken him away from his abusive
parents.

The boy is seeking over £50,000 compensation after claiming
the social services department did not recognise he was
mistreated.

Source:- The Mail on Sunday 2 March page 13

The asylum seeker jailed for trying to leave
Britain

A Kosovan asylum seeker has been arrested twice for trying to
return to his country.

Elvim Vera, asked the home office to allow him to visit Kosovo
even though he claimed to be escaping persecution in the
country.

When he told officials that he was homesick and wanted to go
back he was told he had to stay in Britain so his asylum claim
could be processed.

Source:- The Mail on Sunday 2 March page 12

Cash plea as asylum legal aid bill soars to
£170m

Ministers are calling for more money to be available to deal
with a £32 million rise in the legal aid bill for asylum
seekers.

The cost is set to rise to almost £170 million, almost
treble the £60 million figure of two years ago.

Source:- The Times Monday 3 March page 1

Open ‘Sangatte 2′ charities demand

A new refugee hostel in Sangatte to deal with the thousands of
refugees expected to flee Iraq if war breaks out, is being called
for by French charities.

The Calais-based charities say there will be an influx of around
5,000 refugees into northern France if war takes place.

Source:- The Daily Mail Monday 3 March page 15

Scottish newspapers

I swear I did not shake that baby, says
accused

A childminder accused of murdering a “lovable, happy-go-lucky
little boy” broke down in the witness box yesterday as she
repeatedly denied she had caused the child’s death by shaking
him.

Tina Mcleod, who has three children of her own, told how her
life and that of her family had been devastated by the accusation
she had murdered Alexander Graham.

“I cared for him very much”, she said.

The trial at Edinburgh’s high court continues.

Source:- The Herald Saturday 1 March page 7

Dunblane secret documents contain letters written by
Tory and Labour ministers

Letters between ministers and correspondence relating to Thomas
Hamilton’s involvement with Freemasonry form part of 106
documents about the Dunblane mass murderer, which have been sealed
from public sight for 100 years.

The documents include a letter concerning Hamilton, sent by
George Robertson MP, now head of NATO, to Michael Forsyth, then
Secretary of State for Scotland.

Source:- Sunday Herald 2 March pages 1 and 2

LibDems in gay marriage election pledge

The Liberal Democrats are entering the spring Scottish
parliament election campaign pledging to give unmarried couples,
both gay and straight, the same legal rights as married people.

Source:- Sunday Herald 2 March page 2

Models refuse to work in mental health ad

Top model agencies refused to take part in a major campaign to
fight the stigma of mental health because they did not want to be
associated with conditions such as anorexia, depression and
schizophrenia. Campaigners were forced to recruit students from
university psychology departments.

The revelation will embarrass the Scottish executive which
launched the ‘See Me’ campaign a year ago to fight the
discrimination and stigma associated with mental illness.

Source:- Sunday Herald 2 March page 13

Don’t call us ‘nuts, mad or
psychos’

People with mental health problems are ill, yet they suffer even
more from the way they are portrayed in the media.

This is about to change. In the mail this morning, every editor
will receive a letter, on behalf of the ‘See Me’
campaign, warning of the dangers of misrepresenting people with
mental health problems.

Source: The Herald Monday 3 March page 12

Council to pay for autistic boy

The parents of an autistic boy who sued their local council for
refusing to fund a pioneering treatment to help his condition, have
won a landmark case at Scotland’s highest civil court.

Christine and Malcolm Mahony fought a six-month battle against
West Lothian council, which culminated in a judicial review at the
court of session ruling in their favour.

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 3 March page 7

Welsh newspapers

Secure unit u-turn demanded

The campaign to stop the Youth Justice Board building a secure
training centre for young offenders in the Neath Valley is becoming
more politicised.

Local people have already made their opposition clear and now
politicians including former Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Wigley
are calling for a rethink on the plans.

Peter Black, the Welsh Liberal Democrat AM, has also condemned
the proposal saying that the area does not have enough social
workers and probation officers for its own needs.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 3 March page 5

A fresh look attacking bullying

New technology including e-mail and text messaging has made even
more young people vulnerable to bullying.

Now Welsh education minister Jane Davidson is launching a new
guidebook, entitled ‘Bullying: A Positive Response 2003
– Advice for Parents, Governors and Staff in Schools’.
The guide seeks to deal with all aspects of the problem including
new ways of tackling new technology bullying via e-mails and mobile
phones.

Source:-Western Mail Monday 3 March page 6

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