Shackles found in Jersey care home
Shackles were found yesterday in one of the underground chambers found hidden under two concrete floors at the Jersey care home where a skull was found on Saturday.
Police sources said the find was significant, and that it matched accounts given by many of the victims, who said they had been sexually and physically abused while in solitary confinement in “punishment rooms” underneath Haut de la Garenne home.
More city academies on the way
Ed Balls, the children’s and schools minister, will today announce that he is sanctioning a further acceleration of the city academy programme in the next two years.
Speaking to activists at the three-day Labour spring conference starting today, he will say: “The evidence is clear: academies are turning round low-performing schools in disadvantaged communities; with fair and comprehensive admissions and even more disadvantaged intakes than their catchment areas; delivering faster-rising results than other schools.”
New warning for faith charities
Faith charities encouraging or promoting violence or hatred risk losing their charitable status as part of a radical overhaul proposed by the Charity Commission.
For the first time all charities – including those advancing religion – must show that their aims are for the benefit of the public. Draft guidance, issued today, will explain to the registered religious charities what constitutes a public benefit and warns that “the abuse or misuse of religious teachings” might lead to a charity being stripped of its status.
Plan to aid jobless ‘will cost £75bn’
James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, announced yesterday that private companies and voluntary groups would win bigger and longer contracts to provide intensive and personalised support for the jobless and those who return to work, as well as getting more freedom from Whitehall.
Blears calls for more mayors
Hazel Blears, communities secretary, will on Friday call for more elected mayors across Britain in order to make local government more “visible” to the general public.
There are just 12 elected mayors in Britain, with many local councils opposing the idea on the grounds that it would introduce “celebrity” politics and downgrade the role of ordinary councillors.
£4.6bn council tax for staff pensions
Home owners are paying nearly £300 a year in council tax to fund generous pensions for local government employees, research published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance claims today.
But Heather Wakefield, the head of local government at Unison said: “The average pension is just £3,800 a year, falling to £1,600 for women.”
Teenage pregnancy target will not be met
The government target of halving the number of teenage pregnancies by 2010 will be missed by 20 years, it was revealed.
Although figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of young girls getting pregnant is dropping each year, it is not falling fast enough to halve the 1998 rate by 2010, as ministers had pledged.