By David Callaghan and Reg McKay.
State liable to pay children abused by their
A landmark ruling in the European Court of Human Rights could
result in scores of legal actions against social services
departments from children abused by their parents.
Four brothers and sisters won a case taken against Bedfordshire
Council for failing to protect them from “inhuman and degrading
treatment”. Judges awarded more than £350,000 to the four
claimants who are all adults now.
Ben Emmerson, QC for the four, said they had been subjected to
“appalling abuse over a period of more than five years”. A
consultant psychiatrist said it was the worst case of child neglect
she had seen.
Mr Emmerson said the council had been aware of the “squalid and
degrading conditions” the children suffered, but took no action.
The children who were aged between four and 10 when their ordeal
began, were locked in up at night with no heat or light. Their beds
were sodden with urine and infested with maggots. The windows were
smeared with faeces and the children were so hungry they searched
dustbins for food.
Lyn Burns, Bedfordshire’s director of social services, said: “We
regret the suffering endured by these children prior to our
decision to remove them from their family home.”
Source:- The Times Friday 11 May page 6
Last ditch deal saves NHS bill
The government has backed down over plans to abolish community
health councils in a last ditch attempt to save the health and
social care bill. Health secretary Alan Milburn said he was giving
the patient watchdogs a stay of execution to safeguard other parts
of the bill, including free nursing care for older people, which
the government wanted to introduce in October.
Opposition in the House of Lords forced the government climbdown
which has delighted patients’ groups.
Source:- The Guardian Friday 11 May page 6
Birthrate slumps to the lowest on record
Women are having fewer children than ever before new government
figures show. The birthrate in England and Wales is now 1.66
children per woman, which is equal to the lowest figure recorded in
There has been a fall from 1.7 children per woman two years ago,
which reflects a falling figure since 1924.
Source:- The Times Friday 11 May page 4
Stock transfer hits new row
The planned transfer of Glasgow’s council housing stock
has hit a new controversy as the business plan is due to be
released to the public today. Glasgow Housing Association, the
proposed new landlord, has refused to remove a tenants’
representative despite the fact she has been de-selected from her
neighbourhood forum. The decision has prompted the threat of all
neighbourhood groups walking away from the process.
Margaret Wallace was deselected from the Gorbals Tenants Forum
and the City Wide Forum. Neighbourhood groups now claim that she no
longer has a mandate to represent them and want a new nominee in
her place. GHA claim that she is entitled to her place because its
management committee is now permanently constituted.
The row is threatening to undermine the publication of
GHA’s business plan today which will detail the proposed
processes of the transfer of Glasgow’s housing stock.
Source:- The Herald Friday 11 May page 2