A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Blair women rebel over family leave

Three women ministers are demanding that the Labour election
manifesto should include the promise of new legal rights for
working parents.

Tony Blair is thought to have rejected plans to allow women
returning from maternity leave the right to demand part time work
or flexible hours, after employers’ organisations are thought
to have put pressures on the prime minister, saying such plans
would be impractical.

Baroness Jay of Paddington, minister for women, and employment
and education ministers Tessa Jowell and Margaret Hodge have seized
the opportunity of a delayed election and launched a concerted
attempt to revive the plans.

All three have lobbied to ensure the manifesto contains some
commitment to part time working and claim the inclusion will boost
women voters.

The three ministers will meet the trade and industry secretary
Stephen Byers tomorrow to discuss a plan to ensure mothers have
some rights in working hours.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 4/4/01 page 1

Migrant seizures on wane

The introduction of fines for hauliers found with illegal
immigrants in their vehicles has been successful in deterring
immigrants from entering the United Kingdom illegally.

The number of illegal immigrants caught entering the UK at Dover
fell by more than half in the three months after the introduction
of the fines.

Between January and March, 2,271 illegal immigrants were caught
at the port compared to 3,908 in the three months before the
penalty was introduced a year ago.

Home secretary Jack Straw said the success was due to hauliers
stepping up security measures.

Up to the end of March, 837 penalty notices have been imposed on
hauliers after 4,666 people were found in vehicles. This amounts to
£9.3 million in fines although only £1 million has been

Source:- The Times Wednesday 4/4/01 page 5

New calls to scrap asylum vouchers

New calls to scrap the asylum seeker voucher scheme were made
yesterday, as the home office confirmed the review of the scheme
would be unlikely to submit its report before the general

Oxfam, the Refugee Council and the Transport and General Workers
Union criticised the delay, and demanded vouchers to be scrapped,
giving asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their claim to refugee
status cash instead.

A home office spokesperson claimed the report was expected early
in the new year, but that it had taken longer than expected.

The spokesperson said: “We do not have a date as yet. Barbara
Roche, the immigration minister, has visited a lot of supermarkets
herself to see how it is working.”

Bill Morris, TGWU general secretary, said: “The scheme is a
crude, cruel and expensive way of dealing with a complex issue. The
T & G wants to see vouchers replaced with a cash benefits

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 4/4/01 page 8

MPs attack emergency loans to poor

An emergency loans scheme intended as a lifeline for the poorest
in society, is undermining the government’s drive to abolish
child poverty, according to a report by a committee of MPs.

The study out today, claims the discretionary social fund does
not help deprived people, but plunges them further into debt
“adding to the social exclusion of families with children”.

The government is urged to overhaul the fund, which issues
grants and lends money at low rates of interest to families in

The report followed an inquiry by the social security select
committee and the fund is overseen by the department of social
security. Liberal Democrats and poverty campaigners have criticised
the fund, saying it forces poor families into deeper poverty as
they attempt to keep up repayments.

Helen Dent, Family Welfare Association spokesperson, said:
“Families on low incomes simply can’t afford to repay these
loans – they are already on breadline money. There is no
point tinkering with the system. We must have a fundamental review
of the fund.”

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 4/4/01 page10

Children’s prison ‘unsafe and

Inspectors discovering 700 injuries to inmates over an
eight-month period

at a prison for young offenders, have condemned the institute as

The latest establishment for juveniles to be denounced by the
chief inspectors for prisons Sir David Ramsbotham, is Stoke Heath
young offenders institution in Shropshire.

The inspection found levels of “horrendous” violence. There had
been 187 serious assaults on prisoners and 58 on staff. Most of the
717 injuries were as a result of fights or assaults, although more
than 100 were self-harm.

In October, shortly before Ramsbotham’s inspection, the
governor and his deputy were removed. Ramsbotham said the prison
had been hit severely by budget cuts and said it was intolerable
for the governor to be forced to make the decision between the
savings being demanded or providing acceptable care for

Ramsbotham said it was clear the 500 young people at Stoke Heath
did not feel, and were not, safe.

He blamed the injuries on the children being locked-up and
encouraged the introduction of a purposeful regime to allow the
inmates to develop social rather than anti-social behaviour.

Ramsbotham said Stoke Heath suffered from a total lack of staff
training, support and direction and recommended no more children be
sent to the worst wings at the jail ‘until decent and humane
treatment and conditions are not only in place, but can be

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 4/4/01 page 4

Europe’s race slur on Britain

As an immigrant, I know I am living in the world’s most
tolerant country

Source:- Daily Mail Wednesday 4/4/01 page 18/19

Guardian Society

Break with tradition

Minister backs primary care ideas to end outpatients

Source:- The Guardian Society Wednesday 4/4/01 page

Personal is political

National petition calls for free care for all disabled

Source:- The Guardian Society Wednesday 4/4/01 page

Big name game

Charities board rebrand seen as green light for more radical

Source:- The Guardian Society Wednesday 4/4/01 page

Upwardly mobile

It’s not easy learning new skills – especially when
they involve technology. Radhika Holmstrom on a scheme that is
taking IT training right into the heart of disadvantage

Source:- The Guardian Society Wednesday 4/4/01 page

Life support system

Raekha Prasad on a new service helping teenagers make the
transition to adulthood

Source:- The Guardian Society Wednesday 4/4/01 page

Safe from evil

Just how prevalent and harmful is the practice of child exorcism
– and should it be stopped?

Source:- The Guardian Society Wednesday 4/4/01 page

Bill at breaking point

LGA and ministers in rift over care trusts proposals

Source:- The Guardian Society Wednesday 4/4/01 page

Capital concerns

Personal safety is main worry for young people in London

Source:- The Guardian Society Wednesday 4/4/01 page

Scottish newspapers

Carers’ health at risk

The pressure of looking after stroke victims can seriously
damage carers’ health according to a new study. The study, by
Professor Lorraine Smith and Susan Kerr of Glasgow University,
reveals that a third of carers – all spouses of stroke
victims – were experiencing high anxiety while a quarter were
clinically depressed. Kerr, a lecturer in nursing and midwifery,
said the results painted a picture of “carers trying very hard
without adequate support and resources”.

Source:- The Scotsman 4/4/01 page 4

Councils fail to improve after

The majority of Scottish local authorities have failed to
introduce acceptable financial procedures following the
re-organisation of local government in 1996. A report by the
Accounts Commission published yesterday, expressed concern that bad
debt and fraud had increased by 27 per cent to an overall total of
£6.9 million for 1999-00, around £1.5 million up on the
previous year.

Source The Scotsman 4/4/01 page 10




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