News round up: Assisted dying; ‘death tax'; Edlington case

Torture boys’ sentence ‘not too lenient’

The government’s chief law officer has decided not to challenge the sentences handed down to two brothers who sadistically tortured two young boys.

Last month the attackers, now aged 11 and 12, were sentenced to indefinite detention with a minimum term of five years for the brutal assault in Edlington, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Read more on this story in The Times

Church accuses MacDonald of economic motive for Suicide Bill

A spokesman for the Catholic Church has accused Margo MacDonald MSP of seeking a cheaper alternative to medical care in an attack on her plan to legalise assisted suicide.

Ms MacDonald last night branded as “wicked” the comments by the senior Catholic spokesman, and suggested that there must be “something seriously wrong” with him.

Read more on this story in The Times

The confessions of a mercy killer

He promised viewers the confession he was about to make would be “rather startling”. And so it proved to be. Ray Gosling, pioneering gay rights campaigner and veteran broadcaster, revealed in a local BBC news programme on Monday night how one hot afternoon some years ago he smothered a former lover to death as he lay in hospital suffering unimaginable pain and beyond the reach of medical help.

Read more on this story in The Independent

Braving the new world of a merged charity

For the past year, I have been going through what I imagine a divorce feels like: uncertainty, sleepless nights, and the occasional desire to bawl. But in fact I have been preparing for a marriage of sorts: the merger of the national organisation I founded, Speaking Up, with another charity, Advocacy Partners.

So why go through all this? Because we believe this merger is good news for the people we serve. What has animated us has not so much been the threats posed by the public sector recession but the possibilities opened by the merger for us as a joint organisation to have an influence and turbo-boost our mission at a time when demand for our services is shooting up.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Seventeen million could have to pay ‘death tax’, Tories claim

The Conservatives say that as many as 70 per cent of voters could be affected by the proposal to finance a national scheme to provide free home and residential care for older people from a compulsory tax on death. Gordon Brown has refused to rule out such a scheme.

The government is due to set out within weeks how it proposes to fund the national care service, with a 10% levy on estates one of the options under consideration.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Yarl’s Wood children face ‘extreme distress’

Children held at an immigration detention centre face “extremely distressing” arrest and transportation procedures, and are subjected to prolonged and sometimes repeated periods of detention, according to a damning report by the Children’s Commissioner.

In a report that prompted an angry response from the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Sir Al Aynsley-Green highlighted concerns over “significant areas” of healthcare for the 1,000 children held in the Yarl’s Wood centre every year.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Fast-forward to integrated public services

Ministers have short-circuited a pilot programme, with more than a year still to run, and told all English local health and social care agencies to go ahead now with projects that explore the potential of integration to deliver better, flexible and personalised services.

“We have got to make people do this in all areas,” says Phil Hope, care services minister. “The pressures coming on budgets over the next few years will drive it. It’s no longer a case of, ‘We have a problem – let’s put another layer of financial icing on the public services cake.’ Those days have gone. We have got to rebake the cake.”

Read more on this story in The Guardian


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