By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.
Brown’s ballot box budget
Gordon Brown yesterday pledged that Labour would spend
billions of pounds on improving frontline public services in a
blatantly political Budget message.
The Chancellor said he would increase spending after inflation on
defence, law and order as well as delivering the extra money
pledged last year for the NHS and an extra £1,000 per pupil in
the nation’s schools by 2008.
He topped up the spending pledges with a promise of £20
billion savings from cutting Whitehall waste to be reallocated to
frontline services by 2008.
Source:- The Guardian Thursday 18 March page 1
Brown feted as ‘the childcare
Childcare charities applauded the Chancellor’s commitment to
increase the spending on the Sure Start programme by 17 per cent in
real terms over the next three years.
Gordon Brown pledged an extra £669 million by 2007-8 to fund
1,700 children’s centres which equates to one for each of the
most deprived wards in England.
Director of the Daycare Trust charity Stephen Burke said the
announcement showed the Chancellor was “the childcare
Source:- The Guardian Thursday 18 March page 20
NHS trusts ‘cajoled’ into
Chief executives of local NHS trusts are being cajoled into signing
agreements to supply foundation hospitals with a guaranteed flow of
patients before the terms have been properly negotiated, according
to a Department of Health document.
Ministers want the first 12 foundation hospitals to be established
on 1 April, but the independent regulator will not allow this to
happen until he is satisfied their balance sheets are
Hugh Taylor, the department’s business and strategy director,
said in a letter that he “cannot stress enough the urgency of
the timely signing of contracts with the NHS foundation trusts that
would demonstrate the likely flow of patients and
Source:- The Guardian Thursday 18 March page 4
Police win public money for inquest appeal
Eight police officers seeking to overturn an inquest verdict that
the death of a black man in custody was unlawful killing have had
their battle funded by the public purse.
Members of the Metropolitan Police Authority have agreed to fund
the judicial review being sought by officers in the case of Roger
Sylvester. He died in 1999 seven days after being handcuffed by
police outside his north London home.
Source:- The Guardian Thursday 18 March page 5
Bereaved family get prison apology
Paul Goggins has been forced to apologise to the widow and family
of John Tero who was wrongfully jailed at the age of 72 and died of
cancer which went undiagnosed while in prison.
The Prison Service is to introduce changes in prisoners’
healthcare after an independent investigation into the failures of
the medical care of Tero while he was imprisoned in Woodhill and
He was treated for indigestion for eight months when he had
developed stomach cancer.
The formal apology by the prisons minister comes just 16 months
after Tero complained to his MP about his treatment while in
Source:- The Guardian Thursday 18 March page 8
Blunkett reviews refugee payments
Refugees could lose the right to claim hundreds of pounds of
backdated benefits under a government review announced
Home secretary David Blunkett announced the move just hours after
being informed that a Kosovan refugee had received £20,000 in
Refugees can claim a range of benefits including housing benefit,
income support and council tax benefit backdated to when they first
applied for political asylum.
Source:- The Times Thursday 18 March page 2
Health reforms ‘must focus on
General attitudes towards improving public health need to be
transformed in order for reforms to the National Health Service to
be effective, according to a Kings Fund report today.
Initiatives to tackle the rising levels of obesity, diabetes and
sexually transmitted disease will have little impact unless they
include practical measures to build a more effective health system,
the thinktank’s report ‘Prevention rather than
Source:- The Times Thursday 18 March page 4
Boys still in the dark on safe sex
Modern teenage boys are still living in the Dark Ages regarding
contraception, it has emerged.
Although around 70 per cent of 13-year-olds claim they know how to
use a condom, more than one fifth still believed that you cannot
get a girl pregnant if you have sexual intercourse standing up, a
poll for a new magazine has found.
The survey also found that 10 per cent of 14-year-old boys thought
conception was impossible with outdoors sex.
Source:- The Times Thursday 18 March page 4
BBC puts young offenders on straight and
Reality television has succeeded in turning persistent young
offenders into law abiding citizens.
An experiment by BBC2 called ‘Make me Honest’ paired
five newly released prisoners with five well-meaning members of
public and set them the challenge of steering clear of crime for
The project has been successful and not one of the criminals has
re-offended two months after filming ended.
The programme was made with the help of UNLOCK, the national
charity for former offenders.
Source:- The Independent Thursday 18 March page 10
Children’s carer guilty of 19-year reign of
A former children’s home carer convicted of a catalogue of
abuse against eight girls over two decades, was facing a lengthy
prison sentence last night.
Alexander Wilson was found guilty of 15 charges of molesting
children, at the high court in Glasgow.
Wilson had worked as a house parent at the Quarriers Village,
Bridge of Weir in Renfrewshire. His brother-in-law John Porteous,
who worked with Wilson at the home for neglected children, is
already serving eight years for sex offences carried out at the
Wilson was remanded in custody to await sentencing at a later
Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 18 March
New powers fail to deter bail offenders
Tougher sentences have failed to tackle the problem of criminals
who offend while on bail, according to a new report.
One in four people released on bail commits an offence while
awaiting trial, a rate that has not altered significantly since the
Courts have had the power to impose aggravated sentences for bail
offences for the last eight years, but the tougher punishment has
made no difference to the problem, the study found.
Justice minister Cathy Jamieson said public confidence in justice
demanded that the issue be addressed.
Source:- Evening News Wednesday 17 March
Disabled suffer as doctors stop claimants
Doctors decisions to abandon work which involves medical
examinations of benefit claimants is affecting vulnerable
Almost half the UK doctors, who had their approvals to do the work
revoked last year came from Glasgow alone, making Scotland the
worst hit by the move.
It is thought many were disillusioned by growing workloads and red
tape surrounding assessments for disability and incapacity
Source:- The Herald Thursday 18 March
Jobless figures at lowest for 29
Unemployment in Scotland hit a 29-year low yesterday as it emerged
the number claiming unemployment benefit last month fell by 200 to
There are now 3,000 more Scots in work than a year ago, and 139,000
more than 1997.
Source:- Daily Record Thursday 18 March page 6
New figures show Gwent’s dire levels of ill-health
Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal that
south Wales has some of the highest rates of ill-health and death
in the UK.
Experts say that the figures are due to ill health linked with
poverty as well as an ageing population.
Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 17 March page 1
Prescriptions to be cut by £1
Prescription charges in Wales are to be cut from £5 to £4
as part of a £156 million package of spending announced by the
The announcement made yesterday by assembly finance minister, Sue
Essex, includes £3.5 million for free breakfasts for primary
school children in Wales.
Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 17 March page 2
Birth defects rocket in Wales but fall in
The number of birth defects among babies in Wales with conditions
such as cleft palates, stomach problems and limb abnormalities, has
shown a huge rise.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the incident rate
of birth defects in Wales has risen around five times from 65 per
10,000 in 1993 to 365 per 10,000 in 2001.
The Birth Defects Foundation said it has no direct evidence on why
birth defects have risen, and Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik wants
the government to study the causes of the increase.
Source:- Western Mail Thursday 18 March page 8