By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.
Straw fails to meet targets for removing
The latest figures showing Britain as asylum seekers’ favourite
destination, has prompted plans for charter jets to deport
thousands of refugees.
Home secretary Jack Straw is to press for an EU-wide
interpretation of asylum rules to prevent judges from taking an
over-liberal approach in asylum cases.
Asylum applications in March rose by 300 to 5,815. The figures
also showed that Britain took 25 per cent of all asylum seekers
between April 2000 and February 2001.
The government has driven back the backlog of asylum
applications by employing 500 caseworkers who made 18,900 initial
decisions last month. But the government failed to reach its
targets on deportation, and only 8,900 people were removed, despite
a target of 12,000.
It has started to charter planes to return asylum seekers to
Kosovo, and Straw has promised these flights will be increased.
Source:- The Times Thursday 26 April page 8
Children to share £1bn Labour giveaway
Labour will today announce a £1 billion plan to set up
trust funds for every child, which could grow to £7,000 for
each individual by the time they reach the age of 18.
The initial fund will be between £300 and £500
depending on the family income. This will be topped up by sums of
between £50 and £100 three times as the child grows
Tony Blair’s aim is to fight child poverty and provide
incentives for people to save. The initiative should lift a further
1 million children from poverty by 2004.
Education and employment secretary David Blunkett said: “Kids
who grow up in a household where no one is working or has any
savings, end up with very dangerous role models. It has knock on
effect for their own performance in schools and in work, so we are
trying to break the cycle. It is about self-help.”
Source:- The Guardian Thursday April 26 page 1
Britain must extend leave for parents
Every parent in Britain with a child under five must have the
right to 13 weeks of unpaid time off, according to the EU.
As a result of the ruling, ministers will rewrite laws on
parental leave, which currently states that only employees with
children born after December 15 1999 can have time off.
Under the new legislation, an extra 2.8 million parents can
benefit from an additional month a year off work until their
child’s fifth birthday.
Parents of disabled children will benefit from five weeks more
than originally proposed, and can take 18 weeks’ leave from work
until their child is 18-years-old.
Business leaders have complained that although the leave is
unpaid, the costs incurred to introduce temporary staff will
cripple some businesses.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 26 April page 2
Older people live in fear of crime
Fear of crime outstrips money and health worries for older
people according to a survey released yesterday by Help the Aged.
Of the 500 older people in low income families across Britain
involved in the poll, half said they were afraid to go out at night
and 61 per cent live in fear of being burgled. A third of
participants said their biggest fear was crime, compared with 17
per cent who said it was money worries and 13 per cent were
concerned about poor public services.
Source:- Daily Record Thursday 26 April page 17