Monday 8 December 2003

By Amy Taylor, Clare Jerrom and Alex

Charities urge probe into care home fees
Private care home residents are being forced to pay higher
fees than state funded residents for the same care to “subsidise”
inadequate local authority funding, the Consumers’ Association and
charities warned last week.
The groups said that private residents are being made to pay
£100 or more a week extra in fees and are called for an urgent
investigation as they lodged a complaint to the Office of Fair
Source:- The Financial Times Saturday 6 December page 6
Charities warn over stun guns
Mental health charities have raised concern over senior police
officers orders for high-voltage stun guns to be used against
people who harm themselves.
Guidelines state that the Taser gun, which delivers a 50,000 volt
shock and is being tested in five police forces, is only supposed
to be used in incidents involving guns or a “threat to life”.
However, last month the police used a stun gun against a
35-year-old woman, who had set fire to her house and was
threatening to cut her wrists.
A spokesperson for Scotland Yard said that the gun was used because
the woman’s life was in danger.
Ian Arundale, of the Association of  Chief Police Officers, told
‘Jane’s Police Review’ that there may be circumstances
where the use of the guns outside firearms incidents would be
lawful and proportionate, with the most likely incident being when
“officers have to confront someone who is self harming”.
Source:- The Independent on Sunday 7 December
Asylum legal aid limit ‘will increase backstreet

Plans to limit legal aid for asylum seekers to five hours’ advice
in the majority of cases will force people into going to backstreet
advisers, the new chairperson of the bar has warned.
Stephen Irwin QC said reputable lawyers would be driven out of work
by the limit which would apply in all but complex cases.
Source:- The Times Monday 8 December page 7
New bill will ‘be the back door to legal

A new bill being worked on by the government has been criticised as
a “back door” way of allowing euthanasia.
The Roman Catholic Church and pro-life groups have strongly
criticised a draft version of the Mental Incapacity Bill, which
aims to protect patients who lose their mental faculties.
The new proposals will allow patients to appoint someone to ask
medical staff not to provide life-sustaining treatment if they lose
their mental faculties and are unable to make decisions for
Source:- The Daily Telegraph Monday 8 December page 7
Migrants face £500 charge to enter UK
The government plans to impose a £500 surcharge on migrants
who come to Britain to study or join family members.
The Home Office claims that it is justified to impose the surcharge
because migrants make a “windfall gain through being granted access
to the UK labour market”.
It is thought that the charge, which is outlined in the Immigration
and Asylum Bill which gets its second reading in the Commons next
week, will raise £450 million a year, a quarter of the
£1.8 billion annual cost of the asylum and immigration
Source:- The Guardian Monday 8 December page 1
Ministers suppress child asylum statistics
Hundreds of children of asylum seekers have been held in detention
centres despite government claims that there are only very small
Figures given to the ‘Independent on Sunday’ by Clem
Norman, deputy director of the Immigration and Nationality
Department’s immigration removal centres and escorts unit,
show that 300-400 children are held each year, including young
children under four.
Children are held at the Dungavel centre in Scotland for 20 days, a
figure the Children’s Society said is shocking.
Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, is set to condemn the
detention of refugees as inhumane and unnecessary, at a conference
on Tuesday
Source:- The Independent on Sunday 7 December
Scottish newspapers
One third of public bodies flout race laws
Scottish executive departments, health authorities and
schools are among the Scottish public bodies breaking the law by
failing to tackle racism effectively. One in three public bodies
admitted that they had not met specific duties set out by the
government for ensuring that ethnic minorities are treated fairly,
according to research carried out by the Commission for Racial
Source:- Sunday Herald 7 December
‘Compulsory sports in schools is the answer to obesity and
bad behaviour’

Schools should introduce compulsory competitive team sports to
teach children to deal with losing, help control aggression and
stem the growth in childhood obesity.
Dr Des Spence, a Glasgow GP, made the call in an article published
in a GP journal. It is backed by claims that the trend away from
competitive sports in schools is partly responsible for the rise in
“conduct disorders” such as attention deficit hyperactivity
Source:- Sunday Herald 7 December
‘Gay bashing’ hate criminals to face tougher

Criminals responsible for attacks on disabled people and
homosexuals are likely to face tougher sentences, under ministerial
plans to tackle hate crimes.
Research suggests that more than a quarter of disabled Scots have
suffered harassment in public in relation to their disabilities.
Men are four times more likely to be attacked if they are
The executive will also consider tougher penalties for offenders
who target older people, although there seems less chance of this
being translated into law as there is less evidence of such attacks
being motivated by hatred.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 7 December
Satellite tracking for child sex offenders
Sex offenders will be tracked using satellite surveillance
following release from prison, under Scottish executive
Trials in England will begin in January and executive sources say
that Scottish ministers will follow suit later this year.
Source:- The Scotsman Monday 8 December
‘I think I surprised a lot of people’
Research to be published today will show that children with Down’s
Syndrome would do better academically if they were educated in
mainstream schools.
According to the report, generations of children with Downs
syndrome may have underachieved at school because too little was
expected of them. The study, published in the British Journal of
Educational Psychology, suggests the majority could learn at least
a little of the curriculum, and in many cases, much more.
Source:- The Herald Monday 8 December
Welsh newspapers
Director hits back in Wales-only bills row

The director of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has
described as ‘nonsense’ any suggestion that devolution
should be judged on the number of Wales-only bills in the
Queen’s Speech.
There has been concern that all five proposals for primary
legislation proposed by the Welsh assembly earlier this year failed
to make it into the Queen’s Speech.
But Sandy Blair, director of the WLGA, said the Queen’s
Speech contained many items affecting the everyday lives of people
in Wales, including children’s services, housing and
transport. He added that while the framework was set at UK level,
Welsh ministers and assembly members worked out the detail.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 8 December page 11

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