Child Support Agency faces major reform
The Child Support Agency will be branded as “not fit for purpose” as the government announces a major shake-up of its operating procedure. Work and pensions secretary John Hutton will announce the introduction of private debt collectors and medium-term changes will be proposed by a review to be carried out by Sir David Henshaw.
Source:- The Independent, Thursday 9 February 2006, page 4

Banned drugs still prescribed for children
Tens of thousands of children are still being prescribed powerful antidepressants despite guidance that they should not be given to under 18s because of serious safety concerns.
More than 85,000 prescriptions were given to children in 2004 for antidepressants, a parliamentary question revealed.
Source:- The Independent, Thursday 9 February 2006, page 6

Wave of developments could revive new towns
A wave of regeneration schemes is offering to inject new life into Britain’s new towns including Stevenage, Hemel Hempstead, Corby and Crawley.
Source:- Financial Times, Thursday 9 February 2006, page 2

The two sides of heroin UK
Rock star Pete Doherty walked free from court after admitting possessing heroin, while a few miles away a coroner’s court hear how a 20-year-old musician died from a heroin overdose.
Source:- The Independent, Thursday 9 February 2006, page 1

Prescribe more free heroin: Birt’s secret advice to ministers
Lord Birt, the prime minister’s strategy adviser, privately recommended the more widespread use of free heroin prescribing to undercut the £4 bilion a year illegal drug market and stop heroin users having to commit crime to fuel their habit.
Source:- The Guardian, Thursday 9 February 2006, page 12 

Unruly pupils targeted on buses
Badly behaved pupils are to be targeted on their way to and from school under new powers to punish unruly students, schools minister Jacqui Smith told a conference. Teachers will also have the right to confiscate mobile phones if they are distracting children from learning.
Source:- The Independent, Thursday 9 February 2006, page 7

Part-time NHS chiefs’ pay doubled to £50,000
Part-time directors of NHS organisations are to receive pay rises of more than 100 per cent despite the financial crisis in the NHS. The pay of chairmen of strategic health authorities, who work a three day week, will rise from £21,882 to as much as £60,000 in London and £50,000 outside.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph, Thursday 9 February 2006, page 14

Girl given radiation overdose 17 times after hospital blunder
A teenager has been told she could be dead within five years after being given massive overdoses of radiation 17 times during treatment for a brain tumour.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 9 February 2006, page 3

Scottish news

£57 million to aid councils
Councils have been given £57 million in extra funding in a last-minute attempt to relieve pressure on council tax rises. Tom McCabe, finance minister, allocated the money as the result of an inflation-accounting mistake, but it fell short of the £85m experts said was necessary.
He said the money should enable councils to meet the executive’s target of putting council taxes up by just 2.5 per cent, but Falkirk yesterday become the second council to announce a 4.6 per cent rise.
Source:- The Herald, Thursday 9 February 2006

Curbs on sex risk workers will be tightened
Protection for children and vulnerable adults against paedophiles will be strengthened by the introduction of a central unit which will assess who should be barred from working with them.
Education minister Peter Peacock said the unit would ensure that different lists of those who should not be in a position to take advantage of the vulnerable were compared and co-ordinated.
And parents will be allowed to access the information to check whether a private tutor or personal carer is on the prohibited list.
Source:- The Herald, Thursday 9 February 2006

Council tax rise damages Scots authorities’ demands for cash
Scotland’s largest local authority is expected to announce a council tax increase well below the maximum 2.5 per cent level that ministers have insisted councils throughout Scotland should levy. In a move which undermines increasingly strident demands by COSLA, the councils’ umbrella group, for extra government money to avoid inflation-busting rises, Glasgow Council will unveil a figure below its 2.4 per cent hike of last year.
Glasgow will be joined in keeping rises at or below 2.5 per cent by at least three other councils – East Lothian, West Lothian and West Dunbartonshire.
Source: The Scotsman, Thursday 9 February 2006

Blade 2
The five-week knife amnesty initiative, running throughout the UK, is aimed at repeating the success of Operation Blade, which took thousands of weapons off the streets of Strathclyde in 1993. Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson vowed it would be just one of many measures to battle knife crime in Scotland.
Source:- The Record, Thursday 9 February 2006

Welsh news

Welsh families poverty trap worries
Child care costs in Wales have increased by 7 per cent in the past year, according to figures out today from a leading childcare charity.
The figures show that the average cost of a nursery place in Wales is more than £6,656 a year.
The rise in cost was amongst the highest in the UK.
Source:- Western Mail, Thursday 9 February 2006

Police probe more deaths of patients
Police are to investigate the deaths of 14 more patients of a doctor who was cleared of killing three seriously ill elderly men.
Retired GP, Howard Martin, was cleared of murdering the men by administering large doses of morphine.
Source:- Western Mail, Thursday 9 February 2006

More help for lone parents to find work
A scheme to help lone parent to find employment is to be rolled out in Wales, the employment minister announced yesterday.
Margaret Hodge said that the government wanted to see 70 per of lone parent in the UK in work.
The programmes offers help with child care, training and financial support.
Source:- Western Mail, Thursday 9 February 2006





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