A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Unions to confront Labour

The TUC agreed to table sweeping new demands for the right to
strike and recognition yesterday in the wake of the council workers

As 750,000 council staff stayed away from work, the TUC
executive council agreed to table demands for 33 new employment

The demands include the right to strike without dismissal,
protection from unfair dismissal from the first day in a job and an
end to exemptions for small firms, which employ a total of 4.5
million workers.

The workers are also demanding the scrapping of the threshold
requiring 40 per cent of the workforce to back union recognition in
a ballot.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 18 July page 1

Councils refuse to budge in pay

Schools, libraries and museums were forced to close yesterday
when hundreds of thousands of council workers joined the national
strike over pay.

The impact of the 24-hour stoppage was patchy and the most
disruption was in north east England and Wales.

Union leaders hailed the strike as an overwhelming success and
said further action would be taken unless employers bowed to union
demands to increase the pay offer from 3 per cent to 6 per

Source:- The Times Thursday 18 July page 8

Crowded jails force sentence

The record prison population forced a rethink of existing
sentencing practices in the criminal justice white paper, which
proposes a range of new punishments intended to encourage a greater
take up of community penalties.

Courts are to be given a “menu” of different sentences allowing
them to fit the punishment to the offender.

These will include: customised community sentences including a
mix of unpaid work, skills training, curfews and restorative
justice schemes; Custody Plus, a short prison sentence followed by
community programme; and Custody Minus, a short suspended prison
sentence backed by a community programme.

There are also plans to introduce intermittent custody where
offenders will be locked up at weekends. This will allow them to
keep family ties and employment.

There are long-term proposals to improve community punishments
for juveniles.

The white paper also proposes that dangerous or violent
offenders will remain in prison indefinitely.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 18 July page 6

Young offenders

Action plans under which young offenders must agree to a package
of supervision and treatment are to be extended to include options
of curfews and intensive fostering.

The plans are to be extended from three to 12 months, according
to the changes in the criminal justice white paper.

Young offenders given custodial terms for serious offences will
be released after serving half the sentence and will then undergo
supervision from the probation service.

Source:- The Times Thursday 18 July page 10

Women to get new protection from violent

Women who suffer abuse from former partners are to be given more
protection under a major reform of domestic violence law announced

Men who intimidate their former wives and partners will face
restraining orders imposed by courts, under the proposals from
David Blunkett.

The change, which was part of yesterday’s criminal justice
white paper, was hailed as the biggest legal step against domestic
violence since wife beating was made illegal a century ago.

Every three days a woman is killed by her husband, or former

Source:- The Times Thursday 18 July page 12

Foster parents jailed

A couple who fostered children were given a prison sentence
yesterday for abusing two children in their care, along with their
three adult children.

Jeffrey Tanner was sentenced to seven years at Kings Lynn Crown
Court, and his wife Brenda received a three and a half year

The abuse came to light after the couple’s own children
Preston, Tammy and Aaron, and a friend Wayne Muffett were accused
of assaulting a 40-year-old woman. They were said to have copied
their parents’ behaviour.

The boy and girl abused by the Tanners’ came forward
during the inquiry. The parents were convicted at an earlier trial
of 20 offences including grievous bodily harm, wounding and
administering noxious substances.

Source:- The Times Thursday 18 July page 12

Half of Britons will care for their old or sick

More than half of all adults in Britain will care for ageing
parents, sick partners or friends at some stage in their lives, a
study said yesterday.

Two thirds of women and more than half of men will provide at
least 20 hours of informal care per week before they reach 75 years

Michael Hirst of the University of York’s social policy
research unit says caring responsibilities are growing because
disabled, sick and older people are living longer.

“More adults are becoming heavily involved in providing longer
episodes of care,” he said. “These trends reflect changes in
society including: rising numbers of frail old people, increased
chances of living with a spouse in old age, higher rate of home
ownership…and continuing improvements in the life expectancy
of severely disabled children.”

Source:- Independent Thursday 18 July page 9

Scottish and Welsh papers

Fugitive teacher arrested

A teacher who fled Scotland in his yacht after facing child
abuse charges two years ago has been arrested in Ceuta, Spain and
is set to return home to stand trial.

Paul Firth faces 19 child sex abuse charges at the High Court,
Dundee. He is alleged to have sexually abused boys, some as young
as nine years, between 1974 and 1996 at various locations ranging
from Oxfordshire to the north east of Scotland.

Source:- The Daily Record Thursday 18 July page 16

The tragedy of asthma

A full-length feature examines the increase in asthma, its
cause, treatment and social implications for families and

Source:- The Herald Thursday 18 July page 12

Crumbling Wales’s cash crisis

Public services in Wales are in a state of crisis with crumbling
services, striking workers and a desperate lack of cash.

Yesterday as almost all council workers went on strike in the
principality, a damning report from the Audit Commission unveiled a
picture of services failing both in cash and quality.

The report says that Wales still lags behind in key areas like
health, housing and social services, although education and lower
crime rates are areas where Wales is outperforming England.

The controller of the Audit Commission, Sir Andrew Foster,
warned that if improvements are not made in housing and social
services when its next report is published in three years, it will
be up to the people of Wales to make their own judgment.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 18 July page 1

Hutt passing the buck over care homes, AMs

Health minister Jane Hutt was accused last night of washing her
hands over the looming crisis in care homes.

Assembly members criticised her for “passing the buck” for the
financial investment that is needed to secure their short-term

There are warnings that Welsh care homes need a cash injection
of £100m or half will be forced to close in the next six

Assembly members questioned the health minister about the
complicated fee structure that sees the private sector paid up to
25 per cent less than council-run homes.

Hutt said it was the responsibility of local government to fix
the fees and that the Assembly did not have the power to

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 18 July page 1

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