Average council tax rise is 4%
Council tax will rise this year by an average of 4 per cent, twice the rate of inflation, a Local Government Association survey reveals.
Source:- The Guardian, Tuesday 21 February 2006, page 15

Healthcare marketing drive targets GPs
South African-owned healthcare provider Netcare is to market its services by telling doctors of the quality of its results and patient satisfaction levels. Public and private providers are gearing up to market their services as patients get more choice over where they are treated and hospitals’ income comes to depend on the numbers they treat.
Source:- Financial Times, Tuesday 21 February 2006, page 4

Twelve years later, a pupil tormented by primary school bullies gets £20,000
Councils across the UK could face crippling lawsuits following a £20,000 payout for a woman who suffered years of verbal and physical abuse at primary school, local authority leaders warned last night. Torfaen council in south Wales admitted it had paid the money but said it had not accepted liability.
Source:- The Guardian, Tuesday 21 February 2006, page 3

Charles speaks up for hoodies at trust birthday
The Prince of Wales spoke out in support of troubled youngsters dismissed as “hoodies” and “thugs” yesterday as he celebrated the 30th anniversary of his charity the Prince’s Trust.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 21 February 2006, page 9

Scottish news

177,000 pensioners fail to claim £360m in benefits
Up to 177,000 Scottish pensioners are missing out on their share of £360 million in state benefits each year, ministers have admitted.
The pension credit is worth an average of £40 per week, but many older people do not realise they are eligible.
In Glasgow alone it is estimated 14,000 could be entitled to the cash – which could be worth up to £2,000 each once backdated – but have failed to claim the credit.
Source:- The Herald, Tuesday 21 February 2006

Council halts blind 93 year old’s cooked meals
A blind woman of 93 is having her cooked meals stopped because of council cutbacks. The care Frances Hay receives at her sheltered home in Fortrose, on the Black Isle, is being reduced by Highland Council. The local authority said lunchtime visits need to be reduced to half and hour, with carers no longer having time to cook a hot meal, only a cold snack or heat up a frozen meal.
Evening visits are also being withdrawn.
Source:- The Scotsman, Tuesday 21 February 2006

Executive gives Edinburgh an extra £15m for affordable housing
Council chiefs have been promised an extra £15 million for affordable housing in Edinburgh next year, despite the failure of their stock transfer proposals.
The cash – which will be channelled to housing associations to build hundreds of new homes – is part of the funding Edinburgh was promised when it agreed to recommend the doomed transfer plan. The city has already received £15 million a year for the past two years under the deal.
Now communities minister Malcolm Chisholm has told council leaders they will get a further £15 million next year, even though the move was rejected in a tenants’ ballot.
Source:- The Scotsman, Tuesday 21 February 2006

Budget bonanza to cut hospital waiting times
Health chiefs have been handed a record £6.5 billion in a bid to cut waiting times and boost hospital standards.
Extra cash was also promised for the Scottish ambulance service and the telephone helpline service NHS 24. The average budget rise for Scotland’s NHS boards is 7.5 per cent.
Health minister Andy Kerr said yesterday: “I want boards across the country to use this funding to deliver the highest standards of patient care, as local as possible and as specialised as necessary.”
Source:- The Record, Tuesday 21 February 2006

Welsh news

Parents walk free in cruelty case
The parents of a baby who died after suffering multiple injuries walked free from Cardiff crown court yesterday.
Ceri Thomas, 23, and Sarah Scott, 19, admitted a charge of cruelty to their four-month-old daughter Chloe. Thomas was cleared of her murder in January.
Prosecuter Peter Murphy QC said that after her death Chole was found to have a fractured skull but that it was impossible to say how the injuries had come about and they may have been inflicted by a third party.
Source:- Western Mail, Tuesday 21 February 2006

Mining union battles charges for nursing care
A mining union is taking legal action after claiming that thousands of elderly people in Wales are being made to pay for medical care that should be free on the NHS.
The National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers in South Wales (Nacods) says that people are being charged for nursing home costs despite a ruling in the Court of Appeal stating that such care should be free as it comes under continuing care which is provided free on the NHS.
Source:- Western Mail, Tuesday 21 February 2006








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