A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Blair warns of tax rises to improve NHS

The prime minister hinted that taxes would be increased to pay
for improvements to the health service.

Tony Blair said: “If we want sustained investment in the
National Health Service over a period of time, we are going to have
to pay for it and I believe we will find that money.”

Asked where he would find the money on the televised debate as
part of the BBC’s NHS day, he said: “We will find it out of
general taxation because the alternatives, which are social
insurance – which is tax on wages – and private
healthcare – which you pay out of your pocket are worse.”

During the BBC interview, he suggested that a priority for extra
spending would be better social services provision to minimise
delayed discharges.

He said when he visited accident and emergency departments, he
could see that the problem was not in those departments but higher
up the chain, where older people were occupying beds when they
would be better served in residential care homes.

Source:- The Times Thursday 21 February page 1

Killer who preyed on elderly given record 26 life

A drug addict was sentenced to 26 life sentences for murdering
two older people, and attacking two dozen more in their homes.

Mr Justice Butterfield told Andrew Aston he could expect to
spend the rest of his life in prison after terrorising older people
in a three-month crime wave. He said the 29-year-old killer was
“brutal and cowardly”, and had exhibited a “gratuitous desire” to
hurt his victims.

Aston was convicted of the murders of 87-year-old George Dale
and Francis Hobley, aged 80, and of 20 robberies and four attempted
robberies. He was given a life sentence for each of the 26

Source:- The Times Thursday 21 February page 4

Brown to help poor areas in business

Gordon Brown is planning to introduce an American-style system
to tackle pockets of deprivation throughout Britain.

The Chancellor wants to help poverty and employment blackspots
with a range of business incentives aimed at the communities. The
measures are expected in the Budget on April 17.

Brown wants to create a network of one-stop shops where
potential entrepreneurs can get low interest loans and extensive
services if they keep business in their local area.

Source:- The Times Thursday 21 February page 12

Elderly lose £175m in pensions

Older people with illnesses are being stripped of £175
million in pensions and benefits each year, figures have

Thousands of older people lose allowances and pension payments
if they have been in hospital for more than six weeks, according to
statistics produced by the House of Commons library.

As many as 34,000 pensioners lose their attendance allowance
each week. The benefit, which is for people who need help at home,
is deemed unnecessary for those in hospital and 33,000 people lose
out on pensions for the same reason.

Steve Webb, Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesperson,
said: “While pensioners are in hospital, the bills continue to land
on the doormat. This money is needed to help keep wolves from the

Source:- The Independent Thursday 21 February
page 9

Bullying is linked to drug death of 6ft

A teenager who was bullied because she was six feet tall, died
from a drug overdose, an inquest heard yesterday.

Morgan Musson was found dead after seven months of abuse from
fellow pupils. She swallowed dozens of painkillers following a
phonecall from a friend whose mother had banned them seeing each
other, and was found dead in her bed the next morning.

The Nottingham inquest heard that pupils at the school Morgan
attended, Ellis Guilford comprehensive school, started making her
life a misery shortly after she started attending it.

Nottinghamshire coroner Dr Nigel Chapman recorded an open

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 21 February page

Asylum seeker crushed to death

An asylum seeker was crushed to death yesterday as he hid under
a freight train heading to Britain from France.

Four others with him were unharmed and handed to the police.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 21 February page 11

Scottish newspapers

Children reject smacking

Over three quarters of children in Scotland believe it is wrong
to hit a child under any circumstances, according to a survey
carried out by Save the Children.

Of the children who participated in the survey, 94 per cent
believe there are better alternatives. Many children reported that
smacking left them feeling ashamed, scared and unloved.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 21 February page 1

School exclusions fall

The number of pupils permanently excluded from school has fallen
by 11 per cent, according to the latest Scottish executive

However, the figures also show that 6 per cent of the 21,598
pupils excluded temporarily in the year 2000/01, were kept away
from school five times or more due to bad behaviour, including
violence to other pupils. The study revealed that Glasgow, West
Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire had the highest number of

Source:- The Herald Thursday 21 February page 9

Welsh newspapers

Auditor criticises council

A district auditor’s report has criticised the amount paid to
social workers in Cardiff in overtime payments.

According to the report by auditor Paul Griffiths, staff in the
out-of-hours duty team run by Cardiff council were paid £120 a
shift to work from home, and the unit overspent its budget by
£120,000 over two years.

The auditor raised his concerns in the annual management letter
to the council for 2000-01, and pointed to ‘significant weaknesses’
in financial management and control of the team.

Following the auditor’s report, a spokesperson for Cardiff
council said that after a managerial review it had been decided
that certain systems and processes associated with the emergency
duty team required reviewing.

Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday 20 February page

Tenovus executive found dead

The head of public relations for the cancer charity Tenovus, has
been found dead at his home near Cardiff.

Tim Evans, aged 36, was found dead after suffering a heart
attack on Monday night. He had been working with the charity for
four years, but according to Marc Phillips, chief executive of
Tenovus his association and support for the charity went back many
years, and he had worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 21 February page 5

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