A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Councils claim Budget will fail to ease bed

Figures on social care spending have been repackaged by
ministers to give the impression funding will ease bed blocking,
when little money will actually be forthcoming.

Council leaders turned angrily on ministers after local
government secretary Stephen Byers claimed a 6 per cent increase in
social services budgets over three years would be adequate for
councils to care for more older people in the community.

The Local Government Association met the “generous” increase
with derision as England’s 150 councils will have to dig deep
into budgets and impose inflation busting council tax rates
averaging 8 per cent to fund the £1bn shortfall in social
services funding.

The Association said the increase would only meet another
expected shortfall, with any extra cash being wiped out by
increases in national insurance contributions.

Sir Jeremy Beecham, chairperson of the LGA, said the threat of
fines was both “perverse and unhelpful.”

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 20 April page 9

Damilola jury due to retire

The Damilola Taylor murder trial jury will retire on Monday,
according to Mr Justice Hooper, who said yesterday he would
complete his summing up on Monday morning.

Two brothers aged 16 deny murder, manslaughter and assault with
intent to rob.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 20 April page 11

MPs get free vote over gay adoption

MPS are being given a free vote on the prospect of lesbian and
gay couples being given the right to adopt children.

MPs and peers will be allowed to vote on changes to the law
which would give same sex couples, and unmarried couples the right
to provide “loving homes” for children in care.

Most Labour MPs and the Liberal Democrats are expected to
support the two amendments to the Adoption and Children Bill. The
House of Lords is expected to try and block the move.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 20 April
page 1

Ten immigrants are charged with violent disorder after
destruction at Yarl’s Wood

Ten people have been charged with violent disorder at Bedford
magistrates court after a fire at Yarl’s Wood immigration
unit resulted in tens of millions of pounds damage.

Two teenagers and eight men pleaded not guilty or entered no
plea and were remanded to appear again later this month.

Nine who were housed in immigration detention centres, were
remanded in custody and one who lives in Upper Norwood, south
London was remanded on bail after he voluntarily attended a police
station yesterday.

The 10 are from Albania, Kosovo, Algeria, Ivory Coast and

A number of immigrants are still missing after they escaped
during the riots at the centre.

Source:- Independent Saturday 20 April page 7

Revealed: Britain’s drug habit

More than half of Britons aged between 16 and 24 have taken
illegal drugs, according to a study into drug culture.

The Observer poll says people think tobacco is more harmful than
ecstasy and more than five million people regularly use cannabis,
2.4 million take ecstasy and two million amphetamines and

The poll comes as David Blunkett is expected to lay new
legislation before Parliament in June to reclassify cannabis from
Class B to Class C drug.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 21 April page 1

Child sex attackers freed to strike again

Nearly one in 10 sex attackers strike again within six years of
being released from jail, according to a home office study.

The most dangerous group were paedophiles jailed for attacks on
strangers rather than their own relative, and more than a quarter
of them were reconvicted of a serious sex crime.

The findings come as David Blunkett prepares to announce plans
next month to jail serious sex offenders for life.

But the study warns this may do little to reduce sex crimes
since the danger posed by attackers appears to have been
overestimated by parole boards. Most of those considered a high
risk of reoffending were not reconvicted in six years.

Professor Roger Hood, director for the centre for criminological
research at Oxford University, said excessively long sentences
could encourage sex offenders to take extreme measures to avoid
being caught, such as killing their victims.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 21 April page 6

Sarah Brown to head child charity.

The Chancellor’s wife, Sarah Brown, is to become the head
of a new charity that will help poor, sick and disabled

Sarah, who said she wants to show her commitment to children by
putting her name to the organisation and help with fundraising
events, is expected to launch the charity in June.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 21 April page 7

Briton on trial for kidnapping her children

A British woman could face 25 years in prison in America for
kidnapping her own children from social services.

Ruth Christie and her American husband Brian, from Cornwall,
will go on trial later this month accused of snatching her three
daughters from social workers at gunpoint.

The children Bethany, six, Lydia, five and Miriam, three, had
been taken into care for fears they were being mistreated.

Source:- Sunday Telegraph 21 April page 5

Mothers’ army fights street crime

A ‘mums’ army’ has been recruited by police in
a bid to tackle teenage crime.

The group of 50 women, who are mainly in their forties and
fifties, have been given self defence training and sent to the
streets of West Yorkshire to deal with teenage yobs.

If the home office backed pilot scheme is successful,
‘mums’ armies’ could be launched across the

Source:- Sunday Telegraph 21 April page 8

Fast track to tackle street criminals

Young offenders will no longer be taken to police stations, but
arrested and taken to special detention centres under new plans to
tackle street crime.

The centres will be staffed by police, probation officers and
lawyers enabling officials to pool details about an
offenders’ background, and increase chances of successful

The plans are outlined in an unpublished report by assistant
commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who said persistent offenders were
growing in confidence because the criminal justice system was in ”
a spiral of disaster”.

Source:- Independent on Sunday 21 April page 4

Evidence rules eased for battered women

New proposals will mean thousands of victims of domestic abuse
will be spared the ordeal of giving evidence in court as police
will take actions on their behalf.

Officers will be given powers to ask judges to order abusive
husbands and partners to stay away from victims or face jail. Under
current laws women can only take action in their own name and fear
reprisals from violent partners.

Selected police forces are expected to pilot the third party
restraining order scheme from October.

Source:- Independent on Sunday 21 April page 4

Nurses warn Blair over NHS revival plan

Concerted action to improve job satisfaction of NHS staff is
needed, otherwise plans to revive the NHS will fail, Tony Blair was
warned yesterday.

Beverly Malone, general secretary of the Royal College of
Nursing, welcomed the government’s promise to recruit 35,000
more nurses by 2008 at the annual conference in Harrogate. But, she
warned, the real problem was retaining staff already in the

“We need to know whether there will be money for improving
nurses’ salaries, modernising their career structure and
extending lifelong learning so they can be more fully prepared to
take on an expanded role,” she said.

“If these things don’t happen, I don’t see how the
government can succeed in modernising the NHS,” she warned.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 22 April page 8

Two on murder charge

A 21-year old woman and a 19-year-old man have been charged with
the murder of 77-year-old Marie Watson, who was robbed as she
walked home from a chip shop in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The widow died as a result of medical complications.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 22 April page 8

Sell cocaine over counter like beer, says

Cocaine should be sold over the counter like beer and legalised,
according to a Liberal Democrat front bench MP today.

Jenny Tonge argues that legalisation would help to cut
drug-related crime, and would allow VAT to be charged on the drug,
which the government could use in drug treatment programmes, she

The Liberal Democrats already advocate legalisation of cannabis
and the abolition of prison sentences for personal use of all other

But the party leadership distanced itself from Tonge’s
comments, saying they were a “personal view and not party

Source:- The Guardian Monday 22 April page 10

Scottish newspapers

Few paedophiles re-offend on release

Few paedophiles and other sex offenders re-offend when released
from prison, according to new research by Roger Hood, professor of
criminology at the University of Oxford.

Following the cases of 200 male sex offenders, Hood found fewer
than 10 per cent committed another serious offence within six years
of release.

Three quarters of those thought to be of “high risk” did not
re-offend over the same period. Offenders who had sexually abused a
child were at least risk of re-offending with none found in the
study. The research will pose a challenge to current perceptions of
sexual offenders and to the government’s proposals to
introduce indeterminate sentences for sex offenders.

Source:- The Herald Monday 22 April page 3

A disease we cannot forget

The number of cases of rubella has been slashed, but the impact
on a child’s life can be disabling and severe. A full length
feature on one family’s experience.

Source:- The Herald Monday 22 April page 10

Tax to fund Scots health

Many millions of pounds of Scotland’s ‘massive’ Budget
windfall will be diverted from frontline NHS services to fund a
wider ‘health revolution’.

In a high risk strategy, the Scottish executive will divert some
of the £3.2 billion over five years of extra funds from this
month’s budget to ‘illness prevention’ rather
than hospital services as will be the case in England and

Jack McConnell, first minister, and Malcolm Chisholm, minister
for health and community care, are said to be particularly
concerned that Scotland has the shortest life expectancy rates in
Europe, and are convinced that direct investment into primary
health services does little to improve the nation’s health.
Instead, many millions will be siphoned off and spent on
encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles as well as tackling
poverty and housing.

There will also be an increase in the number of GP-led one stop
clinics of which there are 300 already in Scotland. The radical
move creates an even wider differential between health care in
Scotland compared to the rest of the UK.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 21 April page 1

Welsh newspapers

Welsh police accused of brutality

A new independent report released yesterday accuses police in
Wales of assaulting suspects, failing to allow them access to
lawyers, and keeping them in dirty police cells.

The report from the European Committee for the Prevention of
Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT),
lists a catalogue of failings on the part of the police, and
concludes that there is a ‘noticeable gulf in standards’ between
England and Wales.

In response to the report the government admits that police
detention facilities in Wales are ‘not up to the desired standard
in all cases’.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 22 April page 1

Owen ‘victim’ speaks out

The first of the alleged victims of John Owen is due to give
evidence today at the Clywch inquiry.

The inquiry which is investigating claims of child abuse at a
school in south Wales where Owen once taught as a teacher, is
chaired by children’s commissioner for Wales, Peter Clarke.

The alleged victim approached the police last year with three
friends who all say that they were abused. Owen was due to face
trial accused of sexually abusing four boys in his care, but killed
himself just before the trial was due to begin.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 22 April page 1






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