News round-up: Shoesmith sent text appeal to Ofsted inspector

Sharon Shoesmith ‘sent text appeal to Ofsted inspector before dismissal’

Sharon Shoesmith sent a text message to an Ofsted inspector urging her to include “anything positive” about Haringey children’s services in an emergency report just days before she was dismissed. The message, in which Ms Shoesmith said that she would be “very grateful”, was sent as inspectors were finalising a damning assessment of the work of the department last November after the Baby P tragedy.

Read more on this story in The Times

Energy bills could rise by up to 60% without huge investment, regulator warns
Household energy bills could soar by as much as 60 per cent unless £200 billion of investments can be found to restore Britain’s crumbling power plants and secure future supplies, Ofgem, the energy regulator, warned today.

Bills, certain to rise by at least 14 per cent, could spike as early as 2016 under a worst case scenario laid out by the regulator.

Read more on this story in The Times

For richer, for poorer: David Cameron promises to back business and fight poverty
David Cameron presented himself as a champion of the poor yesterday as he vowed to fight Britain’s social ills more effectively than Labour.

He brought the Conservative Party conference to its feet with an attack on Labour’s “big government”, which he said had failed the most vulnerable. While maintaining that the Tories were still the party of enterprise he said that it now fell to them to “fight for the poorest”.

Read more on this story in The Times

Thousands of asylum seekers allowed to stay to clear backlog

Tens of thousands of asylum seekers are to be allowed to stay in Britain after the Government change immigration rules to clear a backlog, a secret memo reveals.

Up to 40,000 people, who would have faced removal, will now stay after officials concluded it is too hard to send them home because they come from countries with poor human rights records such as China and Zimbabwe.

Instead ministers secretly gave the go ahead for immigration officials to alter the guidelines so they could be granted indefinite leave to remain.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Tories to free single mothers from welfare system which stops them going out to work

David Cameron yesterday promised to change the tax and benefits system so that it no longer stops single mothers from going out to work.
He said the benefits paid out by Labour actually worsen poverty because they prevent claimants from making their own efforts to climb out of deprivation.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

Allowing children to drink occasionally may prevent problems later, says study

Parents who allow school-age children to drink occasionally may be protecting them from alcohol damage, violence and sexual danger, a health study published today suggests.

The survey of almost 10,000 15- to 16-year-olds’ drinking patterns in north-west England by researchers at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University found that enforcing abstinence within the family may push youngsters out into more dangerous environments and increase the risk of excessive drinking.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Son of late socialite Brooke Astor found guilty of trying to steal mother’s fortune

• Anthony Marshall looted heiress’s $185m estate
• 85-year-old faces up to 25 years in jail after epic trial

Anthony Marshall, son of Brooke Astor, departs from New York state supreme court in Manhattan. The 85-year-old son of the late legendary US socialite Brooke Astor has been found guilty of defrauding his mother out of her huge fortune in an epic trial that has thrown a spotlight on the abuse of elderly relatives.

Anthony Marshall was convicted on all but two of 16 counts, including first-degree grand larceny and scheming to defraud his mother, who died in 2007 aged 105.

After 11 days of debate, a jury in New York agreed with the prosecution that he took advantage of her after she developed Alzheimer’s disease from 2000, forcing her to change her will without her conscious understanding, so as to appropriate for himself her $185m (£115m) fortune.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

David Cameron’s war on the state

Big government ‘to blame for Britain’s broken society’
• Tory leader says he is ready to be tested as prime minister
• Responsibility and family at centre of Conservative vision

David Cameron today used what may be his final party conference speech before becoming Britain’s 53rd prime minister to say he would use power to tear down Labour’s big government, replacing it with a stronger society that nourishes personal responsibility, strong families and community.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Pre-admission MRSA screening may harm patients, says doctor

• Microbiologist warns of delays in hospital arrivals
• Health officials defend rolling-out of programme

The government’s policy of screening patients for MRSA before they are admitted to hospital breaches ethical guidelines, a senior microbiologist argues today.

Screening has been rolled out since April across the NHS on the basis that it will help protect patients from the effects of the superbug they may be carrying on their skin, says Dr Michael Millar, who works at Barts and the London NHS trust, in an article published online today by the British Medical Journal.

Read more on this story in The Guardian


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