News round up 8 January 2010

Unless we sound the alarm, what little we have will disappear’

Councils across the country are already facing tough decisions as the pressure on budgets takes its toll, even before the arrival of the Personal Care at Home Bill.

In Liverpool, children’s services are reported to be the first victims of the proposed £11m budget cuts. Grants for disadvantaged households are due to be scrapped, and a children’s respite home is threatened with closure.

Read more on this story in The Times

Plans for elderly care put essential services ‘at risk’

Frontline services such as social work, meals on wheels and road maintenance may have to be cut to cover the cost of controversial plans for elderly care at home, local authority leaders have warned. The £670 million required to provide free care for those most in need in their own homes — a key government policy — will add pressure to councils already trying to find multimillion-pound savings.

A rise in council tax of between 1 and 2 per cent will be needed to meet the cost, while cuts in adult and childrens’ social care services are an “unwanted but very real possibility”, council chiefs have told The Times.

Read more on this story in The Times

Report condemns government response to alcoholism and binge drinking

Government responses to Britain’s “shocking” rise in binge drinking and alcoholism have ranged from “the non-existent to the ineffectual”, the health select committee warns today.

Supermarkets and the drinks industry have more influence on government alcohol policies than health experts, the scornful report by MPs says.

Minimum prices, combined with restrictions on advertising and sponsorship, could save thousands of lives and billions of pounds a year.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Nationwide alert after anthrax-tainted heroin kills six addicts in Scotland

A nationwide alert has been issued to hospitals, ambulance services and GPs after a batch of heroin contaminated with anthrax killed six addicts in Scotland, raising fears for drug users across the UK.

It is feared that the death toll will rise to at least 10 soon, the Guardian understands, after cases spread across Scotland from Glasgow to Lanarkshire, then to Dundee, Fife and now central Scotland.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Tories drop pledge of 5,000 extra jail places

David Cameron has dropped the Tory pledge to build 5,000 more prison places in England and Wales, claiming it had been overtaken by the current government’s prison building programme.

But he said a Conservative government would press ahead with its plans to abolish the early-release scheme for prisoners, and to ensure that judges spell out in the courtroom the minimum and maximum time each particular prisoner should serve.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Boy, 4, becomes youngest pupil to be expelled as teachers could not cope with ‘challenging behaviour’

A challenging boy was expelled from school at just four years old, making him potentially the youngest pupil ever to be excluded.

Headmaster Alexis Conway said the boy had constantly breached his school’s behaviour code despite teachers continually trying to help him.

But eight days after the boy was sent home from Forestdale Primary School in Croydon, South London, the school governors held a meeting and reversed the decision.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

Autistic son locked up indefinitely for plotting to kill ‘overprotective’ parents

An autistic man was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order today after plotting to kill his adoptive parents with a friend he met on a fetish website just three months earlier.

Christoper Monks, 25, persuaded Shaun Skarnes, 20, to stab the couple while they were asleep at their home in return for sexual favours. Monks told Skarnes that he wanted his parents dead because they were overprotective and treated him like a child

Read more on this story in The Daily Mail


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