Stress has become ‘cause of poverty’

Stress has become ’cause of poverty’
Stress and depression are now huge causes of poverty across Britain, a government report is to warn. A senior source in the Department of Work and Pensions revealed: “Mental health is now one of the country’s biggest problems.”
The warning will come in the Freud Report on welfare reform, expected to be published in three months. It will focus on the 2.7 million people on incapacity benefit – many who are suffering stress and depression. Ministers believe up to a million can come off benefits and return to work. But they fear that plans to cut the huge number of jobless through extra training or benefit cuts will overshadow the need to help with mental health issues.
Source:- Daily Mirror, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 15

Rise in adopted children living with gay couples
One in every 20 children adopted from care goes to live with a gay couple, official figures obtained from local authorities under freedom of information rules revealed yesterday.
Source:- Daily Mail, Saturday 20 January 2007

Salt death boy retrial
A couple accused of killing a three-year-old boy by poisoning him with salt went on trial for a second time yesterday.
Ian, 39, and Angela Gay, 40, force-fed Christian Blewitt as punishment for misbehaving, a jury heard. He was found with head injuries and six teaspoons worth of salt in his blood. The Gays, of Halesowen, West Mids, were convicted of the killing in 2005 but appealed with fresh medical evidence. The retrial at Nottingham continues.
Source:- Daily Mirror, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 33

NHS patient groups to be abolished
Parliament will on Monday abolish the only formal mechanisms by which patients can influence the policy of the NHS.
The second reading of the Local Government and Public Involvement Bill will abolish the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement, and the 400 patient and public forums, set up three years ago to replace community health councils.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 35

Action on Farepak urged
The government was yesterday urged to take action against directors of Farepak, the collapsed hamper and vouchers company, and European Home Retail, its parent. The intervention by Jim Devine, Labour MP for Livingston, West Lothian, followed publication of a report by Farepak’s administrators, which estimated that more than 130,000 creditors who are owed £46m would receive only 5p in the pound.
Source:- Financial Times, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 3

Part of Ashworth special hospital will become jail to ease crisis
A disused wing of Ashworth special psychiatric hospital on Merseyside is to undergo a £19m conversion in an attempt to cope with a renewed surge in jail numbers.
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 4

Jail for cheat who claimed disability benefits but took part in marathons
A man who claimed more than £22,000 in disability benefits and told officials he could only walk using two sticks or a frame was jailed yesterday after it emerged he was a competitive marathon runner.
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 9

Husband cleared in wife’s suicide
A father of two who drove his wife to a viaduct where she jumped 100ft to her death was cleared yesterday of aiding and abetting her suicide. David Stephenson denied he knew his wife Linda was going to jump off the bridge, despite a jury hearing how she had pestered her family for weeks to help her end her life. However the judge told David Stephenson: “You need help. Go and get it.”
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 2

NHS ‘being handed over to private control’
The NHS is being “parceled up into bite-sized pieces and handed over to private control,” says Keep Our NHS Public, a campaign group opposed to government NHS policy and backed by the unions.
Source:- Financial Times, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 4

Fugitive wanted for child rape is granted passport
A fugitive wanted in Britain for raping an eight-year-old girl was granted a UK passport at an overseas embassy in a shocking government blunder. Sean McMahon, who fled the country while on bail, should have been refused the travel document and arrested when he made the application to the consul in Thailand. But, incredibly, the Foreign Office had not been told of his status as a suspected paedophile being hunted by police.
Source:- Daily Mail, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 4

Hewitt: GP pay rise too high
Family doctors have helped themselves to a larger pay rise than was intended by taking an extra £9,000 a head out of their practices, the health secretary Patricia Hewitt has said.
Source:- The Independent, Saturday 20 January 2007, page 4

Mother’s battle for carers’ rights
A mother who claims she was forced to quit her job to care for her disabled child is bringing a landmark legal case which could bring new rights for millions of Britons looking after sick relatives. Sharon Coleman, whose four-year-old son Oliver was born with a rare condition affecting his breathing and is also deaf, resigned as a legal secretary after a series of clashes with her bosses over taking time off.
Source:- Observer, Sunday 21 January 2007, page 15

Trafficked sex workers win right to stay
Victims of sex trafficking will get the legal right to stay in Britain temporarily under plans to be unveiled by Tony Blair to encourage women to testify against their captors.
Source:- Observer, Sunday 21 January 2007, page 17

Kelly in new storm over gay adoption law
Ruth Kelly is trying to water down new anti-discrimination laws to let Catholic adoption agencies turn away gay couples. Backed by Tony Blair, the embattled communities secretary is at the centre of a full-scale cabinet row over the new gay rights laws.
Source:- Independent on Sunday, 21 January 2007, page 1

Olympic funding robs good causes, say MPs
The soaring cost of the London Olympics will be condemned unanimously in a hard-hitting report by an all-party committee of MPs this week. The MPs will urge ministers to “get a grip” and to stop diverting funds from lottery money meant for good causes.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 21 January 2007, page 8

Mixed-race Britons to become biggest minority
Mixed-race Britons are poised to overtake Indians to become the country’s largest ethnic minority within 25 years, the Commission for Equality and Human Rights has forecast.
Source:- Sunday Times, 21 January 2007, page 10

Crying doll ‘cure’ for teen mums backfires
Baby dolls given to schoolgirls in a scheme to dissuade them from becoming teenage mothers have, in some cases, increased their desire to have children, according to a report in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.
Source:- Sunday Times, 21 January 2007, page 7

Public at risk from prison overcrowding
Record levels of overcrowding in English and Welsh jails are putting public safety at risk, says the prisons watchdog.
Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, said that overcrowding is having a “significant impact” on inmate rehabilitation programmes.
Source:- Independent on Sunday, 21 January 2007, page 13

Reid wants to split the Home Office in two
John Reid is drawing up radical plans to split the Home Office into two separate Whitehall departments, one dealing with national security and the other with the justice system.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 21 January 2007, page 1

Minister admits danger of gambling addiction
Richard Caborn, the minister responsible for gambling, has admitted for the first time that the new gaming laws could lead to a rise in addiction, a confession in stark contrast to statements by his boss, the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell.
She told parliament that, if the new act ‘gave rise to an increase in problem gambling, it would be bad legislation’.
Caborn was asked in an interview with Channel 4’s Dispatches to be broadcast tomorrow whether the new act could lead to a rise in problem gambling. He replied: ‘Absolutely,’ adding: ‘If there were increases… we would be able to arrest that.’
Source:- Observer, Sunday 21 January 2007, page 1

Study proves school meals to help learning
Children who ate healthy school meals instead of packed lunches scored higher marks in tests, were less disruptive and concentrated longer in the classroom. Two years after Hull City Council offered free, nutritionally balanced lunches to all young children in primary and special schools, the city is experiencing calmer classrooms, where children are more enthusiastic and more confident socially.
Source:- Observer, Sunday 21 January 2007, page 14

Rate your doctor, NHS asks patients
Patients are to be given the chance to write restaurant-style reviews of doctors and hospitals on a website being set up by the government, to be announced this week by Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary.
Source:- Sunday Times, 21 January 2007, page 1

Care home elderly go hungry, says minister
Pensioners are being left hungry and undernourished in care homes and hospitals, a government minister has admitted.
Ivan Lewis, the parliamentary under secretary of state for care services, said some elderly people were given only “a single scoop of mashed potato” for lunch while others were forced to eat with plastic cutlery.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Monday 22 January 2007, page 10

Falconer refuses to exempt Catholics from new gay laws
The Roman Catholic Church and other religious bodies cannot be exempted from new laws banning discrimination against gay people, Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, said yesterday.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Monday 22 January 2007, page 9

Benefits for disabled children ‘should be merged’
Plans to cut the number of benefits available to parents with disabled children from fifty-one to as few as two are being considered by the Conservatives. One of David Cameron’s policy reviews is considering scrapping dozens of separate payments and grants to leave just one disability and one unemployment benefit.
Source:- The Times, Monday 22 January 2007, page 25

Brown supporterers call for rise in taxation to tackle inequality
A pressure group close to Gordon Brown has called for increased taxation to tackle inequality, end child poverty and improve public services.
The Compass group said the current tax burden penalised the poor at the expense of the rich, and said the state should take an increased share of people’s incomes, in line with practice in Scandinavia.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 22 January 2007, page 10

Offenders exploit legal loophole in Sex Offenders Act to escape justice
Rapists and child abusers are escaping justice due to a loophole left by the government following the passage of the Sex Offences Act 2003.
Two cases involving children have been thrown out because of doubts over whether the alleged offences took place before or after 1 May 2004, from when the Act applies.
The situation may be most acute with child victims who may be less likely than adults to remember exact dates.
Source:- The Guardian, Monday 22 January 2007, page 11

Council tax bills to go up by 3.5 per cent
Council taxes in England will go up less than expected this spring – but still faster than the government’s preferred measure of inflation.
A snapshot survey of more than 100 local authorities published today indicates that the increase will average 3.5 per cent.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Monday 22 January 2007, page 1

‘Multi-faith’ academies set to force integration
The government’s leading educational adviser has called for schools dominated by a particular ethnic group to be closed down and replaced by multi-faith academies.
Sir Cyril Taylor, chair of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, said he had identified 20 areas which could benefit from the treatment.
Source:- The Financial Times, Monday 22 January 2007, page 4

Councils to be given bigger role in planning health services
The government is to table an amendment to its Local Government and Public Improvement Bill today to place a statutory duty on primary care trusts to work with councils to produce an assessment of local health needs. The duty would form part of local area agreements.
Source:- The Financial Times, Monday 22 January 2007, page 4

Scottish news

UN attacks government over new asylym tactics
The United Nations and international human rights organisations have condemned new UK government tactics which imprison the children of asylum seekers.
The United Nation’s Refugee Agency and the UN’s High Commission on Human Rights both fiercely denounced the policy, and were joined in their condemnation by Amnesty International, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and opposition MSPs.
It comes as the Home Office’s immigration service has introduced a new policy of “luring” entire families of refugees in Scotland to immigration offices and then detaining them instead of carrying out controversial “dawn raids”.
Source:- The Sunday Herald, 21 January 2007

Asylum system ‘doomed without support’
The Scottish Refugee Council has warned that Home Office moves to speed up the decision process over asylum bids is doomed to failure without proper support.
The vouncil has warned the success of the new asylum model depends on the number and quality of legal advisers.
Desire Ruragaza, board member of the SRC, said it could be difficult for asylum seekers to get good quality legal advice. She said: “Bad advice and representation can mean the difference between the prospect of a new and safe life and being returned to prosecution.”
Source-: The Herald, Monday 22 January 2007

Kelly moves to block adoption rights for gay couples
Adoption rights for gay couples in Scotland are under threat if new discrimination laws are blocked by Ruth Kelly, the communities minister in England.
The Adoption Bill, which allows gay people to adopt together for the first time, was passed by the Scottish Parliament barely a month ago.
The legislation will be backed by equality laws from Westminster that ban discrimination in the provision of services, but Kelly is reportedly trying to include a loophole in the Equality Act 2006 to give Catholic agencies the right to refuse to help gay couples.
Source:- The Scotsman, Monday 22 January 2007

Welsh news

Officers are casualties in council shake-up
Three senior officers have lost their jobs at Vale of Glamorgan council as a result of an overspend of over £5m. The community services directorate has been scrapped and replaced by a dedicated social services department. James Cawley, director of community services has lost his job as a result and Denis McDonald, head of adult services and Tony Young, head of children’s services have also lost their positions.
Source:- South Wales Echo, Saturday 20 January 2007

Children’s commissioner dies
Peter Clarke, the children’s commissioner for Wales, died yesterday after suffering from cancer. Clarke was the first person to hold such a role in the UK and took up the position in March 2001.
Source:- Western Mail, Monday 22 January 2007

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