News round-up: Andy Burnham calls for better care worker pay

Andy Burnham calls for better pay for care workers

Social care workers who look after older and disabled people have had a raw deal under successive governments and should be paid more and given greater status, says the health secretary, Andy Burnham.

Pressure on social care budgets has kept down pay rates and undermined the quality of care given to some of the most vulnerable citizens, admits the minister, whose grandmother was the victim of theft in a care home.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Government spending: Tories launch battle of the cuts

Labour and the Conservatives drew the battle lines over public spending cuts todaywith the Tories saying they would reduce Labour’s spending plans for next year, cut the fiscal deficit faster than Labour, and would not have undertaken the £20bn fiscal stimulus in 2008.

David Cameron made his pledges shortly before the chancellor, Alistair Darling, started Labour’s slow political repositioning on spending by promising to cut costs but not services. He repeated his promise to halve the fiscal deficit over the next four years.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

MPs say complex rukles deprive carers of benefits

Britain’s 6 million unpaid carers who look after relatives or dependants are bamboozled by “incomprehensible” official guidance on benefits, MPs say today. Only about 900,000 people receive allowances, partly because regulations are “unnecessarily complex” and inadequately advertised, the Commons public accounts committee suggests.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

“I want social work to be valued.”

Children’s secretary Ed Balls says Goldie and other famous faces in the government’s TV ad campaign can help revise public understanding of the value of social work – and transform the profession.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Prisoners promised ‘real wages’ under the Tories

Prisoners will be able to earn “real wages” for doing “real work” in jail under radical new plans being drawn up by the Conservatives and penal reformers.

The shadow justice minister, Edward Garnier, said the Tory party will encourage more private companies and charities to offer work and training in jails if it wins the next election.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Poets give chapter and verse on caring

Although award-winning poet Sally Read generally does not like doing commissions, as a former psychiatric nurse she thought she could write with ease about social care. But she admits: “When I found out I was going into a children’s hospice, I was absolutely horrified. I was unprepared to deal with sick children and screaming parents.”

Read is one of a quartet of poets who each spent the day at a hospice or care home, then translated their experiences into a poem dedicated to the role of British carers. The poems accompany images of carers as part of a booklet entitled People Who Care, which will be distributed free to 7,000 carers in recognition of their efforts.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

BMA demands total ban on alcohol ads

The British Medical Association has called for a complete ban on alcohol advertising and marketing, from television advertising to the sponsorship of music festivals and football by drinks brands, as part of a nine-point plan to tackle problems including binge drinking by young people.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

British teenage drop-out rate ‘among worst in developed world’

Britain has one of the worst teenage drop-out rates of any developed country, with more than one in ten of those aged 15 to 19 not in school, work or training.

Only Turkey, Israel, Spain and Brazil have more in this age group who are neither learning nor working, according to the report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Read more on this story in The Times

Council criticised for treatment of young carers

A local council was scathingly criticised in the High Court today over its treatment of two children who have spent years caring for their invalid, wheelchair-bound father.

Deputy Judge Belinda Bucknall QC told lawyers for Essex County Council: “I take a pretty firm view of the way in which your clients have behaved”.

The judge described how, for the past three years the boy, now aged 13, and his 11-year-old sister had desperately needed the council to help them.

Read more on this story in The Independent

Mum jailed for baby drug death after tot was doped for ‘quiet life’.

A mum whose 21-month-old son died after she doped him with drugs to make him sleep was yesterday jailed for six years.

Judge Peter Thornton told Laura-Jane Vestuto, 28, she gave son Renzo sedatives simply to make her own life easier.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mirror

Spending cut pledges bolster UK rating

A growing political consensus on the need to cut public spending as the economy recovers is set to preserve Britain’s top-notch triple-A credit rating.

Moody’s, the rating agency, said on Wednesday that a downgrade was unlikely even though Britain’s budget deficit will soon be the worst among advanced economies.

Read more on this story in The Financial Times

Darling prepares for spending cuts amid signs recession is ending

Alistair Darling set Labour a new “test of character” yesterday to make the hard choices required to ensure that public spending was devoted to the areas that needed it most.

The Chancellor prepared his party and the country for a new era of spending restraint to reduce the budget deficit after the economic crisis. 

Read more on this story in The Times








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