A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Blair vows to help those who help

Tony Blair has announced that in a Labour second term, people
would be expected to help themselves.

Launching his “baby-bonds” at the centre of his manifesto, Blair
said he wanted to achieve his dream of a meritocratic society. The
prime minister said people would have to help themselves in hard
times or in ill health and not just automatically turn to the
welfare for help.

At the same time, the Whitehall think-tank suggested a
meritocratic society would require Draconian measures like the
abolition of inherited wealth.

In a discussion paper published yesterday, the performance and
innovation unit set out ways the government could improve
opportunities for all, but it concludes that while a truly
meritocratic society would mean the most able and committed people
attained the best jobs. It “would also have downsides” that could
alienate millions of voters.

Source:- The Times Friday 27 April page 1

Charities warn of poverty and fund access

The government’s drive to end child poverty could actually
increase the gap between rich and poor, according to
children’s groups.

Liz Garrett, head of policy at Barnardo’s, said there was
a danger that some youngsters such as runaways might find access to
the fund difficult.

Martin Barnes of the Child Poverty Action Group said the money
would have been better spent on increasing the social fund, which
helps poor people to meet one off payments for essential items.

Barnes added that two million children living in Britain were
dependent on income support.

The NSPCC welcomed the scheme, but said the social fund should
also be reformed.

Chief executive Mary Marsh said: “We hope that the reform of the
social fund will follow to enable families in poverty to start
saving rather than having to repay loans.”

The scheme was welcomed however by the National Family and
Parenting Institute and the National Council for One Parent
Families, whose director Kate Green said the scheme would help to
level the playing field for children from one parent families.

Source:- The Times Friday 27 April page 14

Tory MP sparks fresh race row

William Hague’s attempts to portray his party as inclusive
and tolerant were overshadowed by fresh remarks over race by a
Conservative MP.

John Townend, the MP for Yorkshire East, claimed that
Britain’s multicultural society was “a mistake”.

Townend issued a statement saying why he had refused to sign a
Commission for Racial Equality anti-racism pledge.

“I believe that the concept of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic,
multi-lingual society is a mistake and will inevitably cause
problems,” he said.

He said that immigrants should adopt English culture and English

Hague rejected the comments and said: “I believe in a
multicultural Britain which is part of the strength of

Source:- The Times Friday 27 April page 2

Channel trio are found clinging to Dover

Three potential illegal immigrants clung to the side of a
cross-Channel ferry for 20 miles in a desperate attempt to reach
Britain, it was revealed yesterday.

Three men, believed to be from Russia and Eastern Europe,
clambered onto a ledge of a Dover bound sea ferry during a night
crossing earlier this month. They used a dingy to pull alongside
the passenger ferry and scrambled on to part of the stern.

The group then hung onto the side of the vessel for more than an
hour-and-a-half using the dingy as a shield from the waves. As the
vessel approached land, they were spotted by Kent coastguards. The
group were rescued and sent back to Calais.

A spokesperson for Sea-France said she believed this was the
first time would-be immigrants had clung to the side of a ship.

“This shows the lengths people are going to now,” she added.

Source:- The Times Friday 27 April page 8

Migrants get fare home in amnesty offer

More than 20 illegal immigrants have given themselves up to
officials under a three- day amnesty and are preparing to be flown
home today without charge.

On Wednesday, police and immigration officials began one of the
country’s largest operations against an illegal human
trafficking ring, the immigrants had gone to a “no-questions asked”
centre in Hampshire.

Those who give themselves up, will be allowed to keep any money
they earned and their fare home will be paid by the government.
They have been warned that if they do not take up the amnesty
offer, they could be arrested in future raids. The amnesty offer
runs out tonight.

Earlier this week, 300 officers arrested 111 people in the area
of Southampton, 18 of whom are suspected of being responsible for
bringing illegal immigrants into the country to work as cheap

Source:- The Times Friday 27 April page 8

Bulger killer ‘mollycoddled’

Social workers have been accused of mollycoddling the killers of
James Bulger, by the boy’s mother, after it emerged one of
them had been taken to watch a Manchester United game as part of
his rehabilitation into the community.

Jon Venables has allegedly travelled to Old Trafford several
times with his father in preparation for his release, accompanied
by two members of staff from his secure unit.

He reportedly plays five-a-side football once a week against
schoolboys who are oblivious to his identity. A carer from the unit
where he is being detained claimed he had been treated with

“It makes me sick to see how many privileges he was given, like
he was some kind of VIP,” the carer said, “Venables had a Play
Station 2 for Christmas when millions of kids went without.”

Denise Fergus, James Bulger’s mother said she felt
Venables was being mollycoddled: “I am not surprised that social
workers are prepared to do almost anything Venables wants. Both
(Robert) Thompson and Venables have always been mollycoddled and
given special privileges ever since they were put in care.”

Fergus added that she felt all they had received was rewards for
murdering her son.

James Bulger was abducted by Thompson and Venables in 1993 from
a shopping centre in Bootle..

Source:- The Guardian Friday 27 April page 10

Judge frees porn ring paedophiles ‘to protect the

A judge decided that three paedophiles should walk free from
court yesterday, as children would be better protected if they were
kept out of prison.

The trio have admitted more than 100 sex offences, and one has
admitted he cannot be cured. All three were part of a child
pornography ring that traded in hundreds of sickening images.

Judge Simon Coltart said the public’s ‘long term
interest’ would be better served by the men receiving help on
the outside.

The community rehabilitation orders imposed were condemned by
children’s charities last night.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “This does not in any way reflect
the severity of the crime. Child pornography is serious child abuse
and must be stopped. Behind every image is an abused and
traumatised child.”

Source:- Daily Mail Friday 27 April page 17

Straw’s curfews on children ‘breach their
human rights’

An influential parliamentary committee has warned that Jack
Straw’s child curfews are illegal under the Human Rights

The joint committee on human rights said bans on youngsters
going outside at night breaches right to privacy and freedom of

Police powers to arrest youngsters found out at night also
amount to arbitrary detention – another breach of their

Straw bought in powers to round up children aged 10 and under in
1998. In a bid to crackdown on the most troublesome age group, he
plans to extend the curfews to children aged 11 to 15.

The home office said it believed the bill, as drafted, was
compatible with the Human Rights Act but it would consider the

Source:- Daily Mail Friday 27 April page 33

Man who killed his family had psychotic

A man who beat his wife and four children to death before
committing suicide had a history of mental illness, an inquest was
told yesterday.

Robert Mochrie received psychiatric treatment in 1990 when he
had suicidal thoughts and felt as though “part of his brain was

The psychiatrist Dr Brian Harris said he felt Mochrie was
“deluded” and had felt the only way out was to kill his family and

He said Mochrie was suffering from psychotic depression but
could have appeared normal to friends before the attack on his wife
Catherine, and children James,18, Sian, 16, Luke, 14, and Bethan,

Harris said the stress was as a result of work and he thought
colleagues were conspiring against him.

His family were found dead in their beds with severe head
injuries at the family home in Barry, south Wales, on 23 July last
year, 11 days after they were last seen alive.

The inquest also heard how Mochrie had suffered from serious
financial problems, and had visited a prostitute in Cardiff for 18
months before the killings.

Source:- Independent Friday 27 April page 10

Scottish newspapers

International child custody battle resumes

A Frenchman who took his baby daughter to France flouting a
Scottish court order, appears today to explain his actions at the
court of session in Edinburgh.

Ellie Campbell was born in Scotland on 4 July last year and her
mother died a few days after her birth. The father, Pascal Frelon,
had won interim custody under a court of session ruling, but the
court also said the child should not leave Scotland. Ten weeks ago
he and the child disappeared with Frelon alleging he had received
death threats from a male member of his deceased wife’s

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 27 April page

Partial u-turn on hepatitis C

The Scottish executive has agreed to “examine constructively”
the implications of a landmark high court ruling in England, which
awarded £10 million compensation to people who had contracted
Hepatitis C as a result of transfusion of faulty blood

Health minister Susan Deacon has previously resisted demands
that the executive should compensate those who contracted hepatitis
C in the 1980s. The executive carried out an 18-month inquiry
described as a “whitewash” by campaigning groups. Yesterday, in an
SNP sponsored parliamentary debate, Malcolm Chisholm, deputy
minister for community care, agreed that the executive would now
consider the English ruling.

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 27 April page 15




More from Community Care

Comments are closed.