By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.
Eurotunnel fights fines for stowaways
Eurotunnel is fighting back against the government’s
proposals to fine the company £2,000 for every illegal
immigrant found aboard its freight shuttles.
The Channel Tunnel operator lodged papers at the high court
yesterday seeking a judicial review of the government’s
More than 100 migrants are found in the company’s terminal
near Calais every night. In the first six months of the year 3,200
people were found arriving at Britain via Eurotunnel.
The company argues that it would face fines of £13 million
a year in addition to £3 million spent on stepping up security
Until now, section 39 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1999
only applies to Channel ferry operators. The home office has not
confirmed whether the fines will be extended to the freight
shuttle. The six-week consultation period for the proposals ends in
early autumn, but Eurotunnel has decided to pre-empt any decision
by lodging the papers.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 16 August page 2
‘Scandal’ of £41m asylum voucher
The processing of £26 million of food vouchers to asylum
seekers cost £15 million in administration, it emerged
Home office statistics show running costs for the scheme of
£3 for every £5 of vouchers. The figures will add to the
pressure on David Blunkett to scrap or radically modify the scheme,
which replaced cash benefits with food stamps.
The vouchers system is currently under review following strong
criticism that supermarkets are profiteering as recipients are not
allowed change from the vouchers.
The immigration advisory service said the system was a
bureaucratic nightmare. Chief executive Keith Best said: “This is a
scandalous waste of the tax payers money.”
“There is now no possible logical, political or financial reason
why the government should continue with its flawed system of
vouchers. The costs will escalate even further,” he warned.
Source:- Daily Mail Thursday 16 August page 16
Inspectors condemn private child jail
During its first 20 months one of Britain’s privately run
child jails was characterised by turbulence and disruption,
according to a report published today.
It found high staff turnover, rooms in residential units damaged
and offenders’ spitting, swearing and throwing missiles.
Teaching at the centre was criticised as unsatisfactory, and staff
rotas meant some workers were exhausted.
The report by the Social Services Inspectorate calls for more
skilled child care staff to be employed at Hassockfield Secure
Training Centre in Durham, alongside improvements in attendance at
lessons and better supervision.
The report follows similar criticism of the first child jail
Medway Secure Training Centre in Kent.
Hassockfield, run by Premier Prisons can hold 40 young people
aged 12 to 17.
Source:- The Times Thursday 16 August page 2
Deal struck over care home row
Private care home owners have agreed to suspend all action
against councils in a deal struck with the Convention of Scottish
Local Authorities and the Scottish executive.
The three agencies, including Scottish Care, agreed to form an
independent working group to establish the true cost of residential
and nursing home care. Pending the outcome of this group, the
Scottish executive will increase its existing offer of £17.5
million to an as yet undisclosed level and Scottish Care will end
its action against Aberdeen Council, North Lanarkshire Council and
South Lanarkshire Council.
Source: The Scotsman Thursday 16 August page 2