By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.
Blair to tell unions: no giving in on
Tony Blair will tell trade unions this week that the government
will press ahead with reforms of public services.
The prime minister will insist he will not be deflected from
introducing private sector involvement to boost public
Blair will attack claims from union chiefs that his proposals
are muddled, by saying he has a “clear vision” of the shape of the
The speech, which is expected Thursday or Friday, will follow a
month of criticism from trade unions leaders, who have warned the
government to back down. Some unions such as Unison and GMB have
threatened to cut annual donations to Labour funds.
Source:- The Times Tuesday 10 July page 2
There is no plan to change the law, says Downing
Suggestions that the government will relax the laws on the use
of cannabis were quashed yesterday as the prime minister’s
spokesperson insisted there was no change of policy in the
Less than 24 hours after the home secretary David Blunkett said
it was possible to have an adult debate over the legalisation of
cannabis, the spokesperson struck a different tone.
“Of course there’s always room for different debates in
any democracy. But often when people say they are calling for a
debate, that’s shorthand for saying they want to legalise
cannabis. But the government’s policy remains. There are no
plans to decriminalise cannabis,” the spokesperson said.
The comments followed admissions from former cabinet office
minister Mo Mowlam and drugs tsar Keith Hellawell that cannabis
does not necessarily lead to the use of harder drugs.
Source:- The Times Tuesday 10 July page 4
Boost for mental health
A national institute for mental health is to be set up, in a bid
to improve treatment and research into the area in the NHS, it was
It will develop a national research plan aimed at setting up a
network of universities and centres to co-ordinate studies and
trials into new drugs and therapies.
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 10 July page 7
Crash driver too young to jail
A teenage boy was placed on a supervision order yesterday,
because he is too young to face jail for running down two older
District judge Dudley Thomas at Bristol youth court said the
teenager should face a custodial sentence for driving into the two
pensioners, causing one to have both legs amputated. However, the
court was unable to sentence the boy, who cannot be named, as he
pleaded guilty a week before his 15th birthday, and he
was not a persistent young offender.
The youth took a Ford Escort in May and drove onto the pavement
in Henbury in Bristol, crushing Olive Harley, 89, and Kitty Stiley,
85, against a garden wall. Both remain in hospital.
The youth will wear a tag and be confined to home after 7pm for
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 10 July page 8
Move to ease limit on abuse claims
A gap in the law which prevents many victims of child abuse
suing their abusers, should be plugged today, according to the Law
A radical overhaul of the differing time limits for launching
different types of legal claims, has been urged by the
government’s official law reform body.
The review follows a case where Lesley Stubbings tried to sue
her adoptive father who she alleged abused her between the ages of
three and 14.
The case went to the European court of human rights in
Strasbourg, but she was defeated by the law on time limits.
It was in 1983 when she was 27 that she saw a documentary on
incest, and linked her depression with her childhood experiences.
She began a claim but was barred by the inflexible six-year limit
for suing over a deliberate act.
The limit starts at 18 if the victim is a child, but when the
limit was set in 1954, child abuse and its effects were almost
unknown and it did not occur to legislators that someone could be
harmed by a deliberate act but be unaware of it.
The commission recommends a three-year limit, running from the
date the claimant knew or should reasonably have known the facts,
with discretion from the judge to extend it.
Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 10 July page 10
Care row deepens
The row between local authorities and private care home owners
over fees has deepened after talks scheduled for today were
cancelled at the last minute. The meeting was “deferred” by the
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities following the embarrassing
leak of an internal media strategy document at the weekend. The
document indicated there would be no resolution until April 2002,
and that councils should portray themselves on moral high ground
while marginalising Scottish Care, the organisation which
represents most of the private owners. In particular, councils were
advised “to target The Herald and Community Care
magazine in particular” to get Cosla’s message over. Cosla
denied that the meeting had been postponed, but had been deferred
to allow discussion with health minister, Susan Deacon.
Source:- The Herald Tuesday 10 july page 1
Mental health legislation challenged
Three residents of the State Hospital Carstairs have launched a
legal challenge against the first legislation passed by the
Scottish executive. The three men claim that the Mental Health
(Public Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 1999 breaches their
human rights. The legislation was passed hurriedly in September
1999 following Noel Ruddle’s successful legal bid for freedom
on claims that he could not be detained because he was no longer
being treated. The hearing, before the judicial committee of the
privy council, is expected to last three days.
Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 10 July page 6