By Mithran Samuel
Britons have worst state pension in EU
The value of the state pension in the UK compared to average earnings is the worst of any country in the European Union, a survey by financial firm Aon Consulting has found.
It said that state pension payments were around 31% of average earnings in the UK compared to an EU average of 60%.
Help the Aged blamed the failure of the state pension to rise in line with wage inflation and said many pensioners were increasingly resorting to strategies such as buying cut-price, out of date food due to poverty.
Source:- The Daily Mail Tuesday 13 November 2007 page 6
Voters can block big council tax increases, promises Cameron
A future Conservative government would ensure that any increases in council tax above a fixed rate each year would have to be ratified by a local referendum, party leader David Cameron will pledge today.
The system would replace the government’s current capping regime, under which councils which increase taxes above a certain level have their budgets limited.
Source:- The Daily Mail Tuesday 13 November 2007 page 9
The 2.5m pensioners battling to stay warm
A fifth of the over-60s spend their winter living in a single room because they cannot afford to keep their whole house warm, it was revealed yesterday by charity Help the Aged.
In a report, the charity also said one million pensioners were having to cut back on food to enable them to pay their heating bills.
Source:- The Daily Mail Tuesday 13 November 2007 page 17
The solution to dyslexia
A project to help dyslexic children read and write currently operating in a dozen schools in Manchester and London is set to expand into 10 other inner-city areas.
Charity Springboard for Children claims a 90% success rate in returning children with severe literacy problems to mainstream classrooms, by getting immediate help to children once a reading problem is identified in their first term of primary school.
Source:- The Independent Tuesday 13 November 2007 page 1
The government has commenced an eight-week review to examine whether academy schools are achieving their desired objectives of tackling under-achievement in urban schools – though there is no question of the scheme being scrapped.
A source close to the government said the review was around ensuring the programme helped the most needy pupils, and it comes amid increasing concerns that large increases in funding for education had left a hard core of children falling behind.
A study by Lancaster University found that the benefits from extra expenditure for certain schools, through the government’s specialist schools and Excellence in Cities programmes, were “meagre” compared to those outside the programmes.
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 13 November 2007 page 1
Tighten alcohol laws to protect nation’s health, ethics panel says
The government should consider making alcohol more expensive and reassess its 24-hour drinking laws to curb serious health problems related to excessive drinking, public health experts have said.
The Nuffield Council of Bioethics said alcohol was the biggest public health issue and warned that government measures including clearer labelling of drinks and information campaigns were not proven to work.
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 13 November 2007 page 4
Watchdog opposes plan to x-ray child asylum seekers
Children’s commissioner for England Al Aynsley-Green has spoken out against the government’s plans to x-ray the teeth of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to assess their age, saying it contravenes medical ethics and may constitute assault.
He made the comments in a letter to immigration minister Liam Byrne regarding the plans, which are designed to address concerns that a number of people are lying about their age to claim the extra support accorded unaccompanied minors.
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 13 November 2007 page 11