By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.
Hefty pay rises will be price of union help
The government’s plans to reform schools and hospitals
with private sector money will be met with demands from union
leaders for above inflation pay rises for the millions of public
Union resentment at the proposals deepened when Blair admitted
the meeting to discuss the plans at Downing Street could have been
Senior union officials admitted the prime minister had dampened
any immediate revolt.
However, leaders emphasised yesterday how Blair had failed to
answer concerns about the private sector involvement.
Unions are now gearing up for a series of encounters with
ministers where they will press the case for pay rises and higher
staffing levels. They will argue that public sector wages have
lagged behind private sector workers pay, and that it is now time
to catch up.
Source:- The Times Friday 29 June page 2
Children’s booklet warns of sex abuse in explicit
A sex education magazine, warning of the dangers of sexual
abuse, has been criticised by family rights campaigners.
The booklet published by the NSPCC was criticised by Family and
Youth, a group that aims to promote family welfare, for doing “more
harm than good”. They referred to scenes where teenagers were
warned that school friends and siblings could sexually abuse,
saying that introducing the idea of sexual relations into perfectly
normal context, where they would normally not be found, was not
The nine-page booklet is aimed at children from 11 to 16. It
warns the young people that sexual abuse can vary from having
adults wandering around with no clothes on when you’d rather
they didn’t, to being forced to watch a porn video, as well
as penetrative or oral sex.
Robert Whelan, director of Family and Youth, accused the NSPCC
of creating a climate where young people could not feel safe
“For the sake of the minority of children who are vulnerable to
abuse, you are potentially exposing the entire child population to
ideas that are not relevant to them, and that they may find
distressing,” he said.
The NSPCC defended the magazine “Hands Off!” saying it had been
published in response to their own maltreatment survey which found
that one in 10 of the 3,000 young adults interviewed, had
experienced sex against their will when they were under the age of
16. The survey added that sex abusers were likely to be known to,
but unrelated to the victim.
Source:- The Times Friday 29 June page 9
Women who have been adopted are twice as likely to search for
their birth family than men, according to recent analysis.
Population Trends is an analysis of the Adoption Contact
Register and says the register has helped only 490 adopted people
to find their birth family details in 10 years.
Source:- The Times Friday 29 June page 10
Bulger mother tempers vigilante call
The mother of the murdered toddler James Bulger, last night
called for her son’s killers to be left in peace.
Her partial support for would-be vigilantes, was withdrawn, in
her first interview since David Blunkett announced the release of
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. Denise Fergus told ITV’s
Tonight with Trevor McDonald she was frightened an innocent person
would be mistaken for the two youths and her warning was: “Just
don’t kill them.”
Fears for the safety of Thompson and Venables have heightened
after a series of threats to publish recent photographs of the pair
on the internet.
Fergus said the government had let her and James down, as
justice hadn’t been done.
Thompson and Venables abducted James in 1993 and battered him to
death on a railway line.
Source:- The Guardian Friday 29 June page 7
Death rates for infants near worst in EU
Britain’s failure to keep pace with improvements with
healthcare in neighbouring countries, was highlighted in a report
stating that Britain has the second highest infant mortality rate
in the EU.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, in
1999, there were 5.8 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in
the UK, compared with 2.9 in Sweden, and an average of 5.0 across
the 15 member states of the EU. Greece was the only country with a
worse rate of 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Infant mortality is usually an indicator of poverty and low
standards of healthcare services during pregnancy and
Source:- The Guardian Friday 29 June page 7
Patients to get health advice via digital
People in the west Midlands with digital televisions will be
able to receive free on-screen consultations with a nurse, under
experiments announced yesterday.
50,000 homes in Birmingham will initially be targeted. Patients
will be able to link up with NHS Direct, the service that takes
100,000 telephone calls a week from people wanting medical
Health minister Hazel Blears said patients would see and speak
to a nurse who could show them pictures of symptoms and videos of
Source:- The Guardian Friday 29 June page 8
Cash pledge for free personal care
Yesterday the Scottish executive publicly pledged the cash to
pay for free personal care following a major spending plan
announcement by Angus MacKay, minister for finance and local
government. Around £200 million will be made available for
health spending over the next year from which the costs of free
personal care will be met. The details of what is meant by personal
care will not be known until the care development group of experts
chaired by Malcolm Chisholm, deputy minister for community care,
announces its recommendations in August.
An extra £200 million had been made available to the
Scottish parliament in the last budget, and MacKay had identified
another £289 from “realignment” from other budget heads. Other
beneficiaries include an extra £6 million to tackle drug
addiction. The executive received fierce criticism from opposition
MSPs for making the financial statement the day before recess thus
preventing parliamentary debate of the proposals.
Source: The Herald Friday 29 June page 1