A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Addicts who steal to pay for drugs increase

Burglaries rose for the first time in eight years last year as a
result of hard drug users breaking into houses to fund their

There was also a rise in thefts from vehicles, according to the
recorded crime figures in England and Wales.

Domestic burglary rose by 7 per cent to 426, 872 offences, while
overall burglary, rose by five per cent to 878,535.

The figures also showed a rise in sexual offences of 11 per cent
to more than 41,000.

Source:- The Times Friday 12 July page 4

Parents of truants face weekends in prison

Parents of persistent truants would face weekends behind bars
under proposals being considered by the government.

The move, which is modelled on laws in Germany and Austria,
would form a key part of the crack down on truancy and youth

Weekend prison sentences, which are likely to be included in a
home office white paper published in the autumn, would be deployed
as a third way between full imprisonment and light custodial
sentences for neglectful parents.

Patricia Amos, from Oxfordshire, became the first person to be
jailed for allowing her children to miss school earlier this

Opponents said the 60-day sentence, which was later reduced to
28 days on appeal, was too harsh for a single mother as it left her
unable to care for her children during the week.

The latest proposals would avoid such criticism.

Source:- The Times Friday 12 July page 8

Rejected Afghans to be sent home

Afghan asylum seekers are to be returned to Afghanistan by the
government from today, after seven years in which nobody has been
returned, immigration minister Beverley Hughes announced last

The announcement means that Afghans, the largest single group of
the 1,200 residents at the Sangatte refugee centre near Calais, who
fail to qualify for refugee status in Britain, could now be
returned to their home country.

Hughes said Afghan asylum seekers had not been returned since
1995 because of the political situation.

“Large numbers of Afghans have claimed asylum in the UK in
recent years. When they do not qualify for protection under the
1951Refugee Convention we have given them exceptional leave to
remain because of the political situation in Afghanistan,” she

According to the home office, 7,210 Afghan asylum seekers were
given exceptional leave to remain in Britain in 2001.

Hughes said the situation had improved considerably in
Afghanistan and the government believed the progress would be

Source:- The Guardian Friday 12 July page 7

Councillors reject plans for asylum seekers

Two local authorities in areas where the government plans to
house asylum seekers in purpose built accommodation centres refused
to allow them planning permission last night.

The government may appeal against planning rejections for the
sites at Bicester, Oxon and Bingham in Nottinghamshire. Planners at
Throckmorton are expected to decide on the third centre within the
next few weeks.

Chief executive of the Refugee Council Nick Hardwick said last
night: “We have always said that these centres are too large, too
expensive, in the wrong places and will take too long to

“The way forward is with smaller centres in diverse urban areas.
Nobody thinks these centres are a good idea. We urge the government
to listen to reason.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 12 July page 5

Parents face holiday child-care crisis

A national shortage of childcare will result in thousands of
parents struggling to find care arrangements for school age
children during the summer holiday.

Fewer than one in 10 children will find a place in an
out-of-school club, a report said yesterday. As a result, many
parents will be forced to take six weeks off work and possibly lose
their entire income, the Kids’ Club Network said.

The charity is urging all primary schools to have access to

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 12 July page 9

Scottish newspapers

Postcode health-care lingers

Leukaemia and cancer patients in Scotland remain at the mercy of
postcode prescribing despite the setting up of advisory bodies
aimed at ending such inequalities, according to experts.

Medical experts from the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh
make the claims in the ‘British Medical Journal’. Examples include
drugs such as imatinib (also known under the brand Glivec)
recommended to be prescribed to patients suffering from leukaemia
is allocated within one health authority, but not in a neighbouring
health authority. Sometimes the issue is one of high cost and at
other times, delays are involved as health authorities
commissioning their own assessments of the drugs.

A Scottish executive spokesperson said that NHS boards should
ensure that funding for recommended treatments meet clinical needs,
but this remained a matter for local discretion.

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 12 July page 2

Crime office calls in troubleshooters

The crisis-hit procurator fiscal service is recruiting
professional managers in an attempt to tackle its soaring

The crown office said the move followed recognition that the
service was close to breaking point, and that 12 business managers
were to be appointed. The appointments follow several high profile
cases, including the alleged sexual abuse of a child, which had to
be dropped because they were not brought to trial within the
designated time limits.

Since 1998 the number of serious cases in the high court and
sheriff court has increased by 25 per cent in this year alone. High
court business has increased by 15 per cent. In the hardest pressed
offices, like Glasgow, staff were at one point dealing with one
case every four minutes in an attempt to shift a 7,000 case

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 12 July page 9

Inquiry into £4 billion housing stock

The European Commission has launched an inquiry into the £4
billion transfer of housing stock from Glasgow council to the
independent Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).

The investigation stems from questions raised by Tommy Sheridan
MSP about the Scottish executive’s offer of a £300
million interest free loan constituting state aid and therefore
breaching EU competition law.

The inquiry is expected to take many months and places the
GHA’s November deadline for takeover in jeopardy.

Source:- The Herald Friday 12 July page 2

Welsh newspapers

Waiting lists under fire as drugs death

Drug addicts in Wales can wait up to a year for treatment
compared to just weeks in England, it has been claimed.

The Welsh assembly was told that no specific targets for waiting
times for detoxification and rehabilitation services exist in

Rhondda assembly member Geraint Davies challenged first minister
Rhodri Morgan to justify why addicts are not given set waiting
times for treatment.

He said there were no targets set for waiting times for
detoxification and rehabilitation and questioned whether this was
the reason that waiting times for treatment were so much longer in
Wales than in England.

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 11 July page 2

Council rejects care privatisation plan

A local authority has rejected proposals to privatise homes for
older people.

Instead Carmarthenshire council will call on the government to
produce extra money to meet new higher standards.

Plaid Cymru group leader Denley Owen said the decision means
that the council must now find £3 million to meet minimum
standards and up to £20 million to meet the desired conditions
for the 500 residents. He added that residential homes were a
fundamental part of the welfare state.

A working group is to be established to produce a development
plan for the council’s 14 homes, and the council is to urge
the Welsh assembly to give them adequate time to meet the new care

Source:- Western Mail Friday 12 July page 7

Women’s Aid bids for sixty-fold increase in grant
from the Assembly

Welsh Women’s Aid is lobbying the Welsh Assembly for a
sixty-fold increase in its grant.

At present, the organisation that represents women who are
victims of domestic violence only receives £330,000 directly
from the assembly.

During a presentation yesterday the organisation asked for
£22 million-a-year to fund both its national offices in the
north and south of the principality, as well as its 32 member

Sasha Williams, leader of the funding strategy working party,
said: “We want to see all funding of core services for both the
centre, and for the 32 groups member groups channelled directly
from the assembly”.

She added that this would form part of a national strategy aimed
at reducing the incidence of domestic violence.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 12 July page 8













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