News round-up: Assisted suicide; Pre-school children underclass

DPP releases assisted suicide guidelines

Rules on assisted suicide intended to clarify when helping someone to end their life will result in prosecution will be published today after almost 5,000 people responded to the interim policy.

The eight pages of guidelines will be released by Keir Starmer QC, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), this morning along with a 45-page summary of responses, the vast majority of which were from individual members of the public, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Underclass of pre-school children emerging, says report

More than one in 10 children begin primary school unable to learn and unwilling to build relationships with their peers, a “disengaged generation waiting in the wings”, said the thinktank Demos today in a report.

Researchers said that data from the Millennium Cohort Study showed 66,000 children scored “borderline” or “abnormal” in tests designed to reveal behavioural and emotional problems that are intimately linked to under-achievement at school, risk of truanting, and exclusion.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

George Osborne: Tory government would quickly outline cuts to tackle debt

George Osborne would set out the scale of cuts required to start tackling Britain’s debt mountain within weeks of taking office, he said last night.

And by the autumn a Conservative government would identify the savings required of every government department, the Shadow Chancellor said.

Read more on this story in The Times

Brown makes Gay rights justice pledge

Gordon Brown pledged to stand with gay people until “justice was achieved”.

The prime minister said progress had been made because the Government had “fought together” with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community.

Read more on this story in The Independent

Tories in child protection vow

The Conservatives have pledged to sweep away bureaucracy to free up frontline social workers to concentrate on protecting vulnerable children.

Shadow children’s minister Tim Loughton announced that eminent academic Professor Eileen Munro would chair an expert panel on cutting red tape in the profession.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mirror

Budget cuts will see end of free services

THE public will have to start paying for government services that are currently delivered free of charge as a result of deep cuts in the budgets of Scotland’s local authorities, a report warns today.

In a paper seen by The Scotsman, the men and women who run Scotland’s local authorities say ministers and councillors will need to rethink costly policy priorities as a result of expected financial shortfalls.

Read more on this story in The Scotsman

Beauty queen…and disabled

Curvy Kirstie Logan shows off the form that has seen her tipped to become the first disabled Miss England.

Brave Kirstie was embarking on a career as a plus-size model when she was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis aged just 16.

Read more on this story in The Sun

Dear Heroin

SCHOOLGIRL Hannah Meredith was so desperate to kick heroin she wrote a letter to the drug spelling out its evils – but three weeks later it claimed her life.

Her mum and other relatives yesterday released her heart-rending message in the hope it stops other kids getting hooked.

Read more on this story in The Sun

Child Migrants: Marcelle O’Brien

Shortly after arriving, her foster mother in England tried to have her returned, but Fairbridge launched a campaign to keep her, giving the impression she was loved and cared for.

“In reality I was being neglected and abused when I had the option of love and a family life with my foster mother in England.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Co-operative councils must not be used as a cover for privatisation

You report that our employers, Tory Barnet council and Labour Lambeth, are to be rival flagships in a battle of local government models (The future for local authorities: is it John Lewis or easyCouncil?, 18 February).

Our union Unison has made clear its reservations about the Tory “easyCouncil” model. The court judgment which you report, that Barnet could not lawfully remove sheltered housing wardens, reinforces our concern that the council is rushing to give up its responsibilities to the vulnerable.

Read more on this story in The Guardian


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