A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Taxman is adding to burdens on carers

Carers who use direct payments to employ helpers to look after
their sick or disabled relatives at home are being forced to
register as small businesses by the Inland Revenue.

The ruling has left thousands of carers submerged under piles of
tax forms and related paperwork, adding to their daily workload
rather than reducing it.

Peter Sinclair, who advises carers on behalf of Dorset social
services department, said it was not unusual for carers receiving
direct payments to end up in this situation.

Source:- The Telegraph, Friday July 19 page 7

Clean slate for young offenders

Children who commit “out-of-character” minor offences will have
their criminal records wiped when they reach 18 to avoid damaging
their chances of finding jobs in adulthood, under a proposed reform
of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The new scheme, which would apply retrospectively, involves
substantial cuts in the length of time that must pass before
certain convictions are spent and would offer juvenile offenders
and those convicted of minor crimes a clean sheet.

However, for jobs involving a level of trust, such as working
with children or vulnerable adults, convictions would never be

Source:- The Telegraph, Friday July 19 page 8

Prescott to slash county control of building

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott announced plans yesterday to
accelerate housing growth in four areas in south east England to
deal with rising house prices and a shortage of homes.

Prescott promised an extra 200,000 homes in Thames Gateway,
Ashford, Milton Keynes, and the London-Cambridge corridor over the
next 15 years – on top of the 23,000 a year already promised
for London and 39,000 a year in the south east – to help
first-time buyers and key public sector workers who can no longer
afford to buy.

Source:- The Telegraph, Friday July 19, page 15

“Meltdown” warning given because 13,000 care places were
lost last year

More than 13,000 residential care places for older people were
lost last year, according to a new report.

During 2001, 9,600 private care home places were lost, compared
to 7,200 in 2000, while local authority homes lost 2,300 places.
However the Care of Elderly People Market Survey 2002 suggests that
demand for care declined at a similar rate.

Source:- The Independent, Friday 19 July page 6

British diplomats turn away boys claiming

Britain has rejected the appeals of two Afghan boys seeking
asylum in the British Consulate in Melbourne.

The brothers, aged 12 and 13, arrived at the consulate yesterday
morning appealing for asylum. They had been in hiding for three
weeks having escaped from the desert detention centre at Woomera in
South Australia where they had been for 18 months.

They were taken to a detention centre by Australian federal
police officers yesterday evening. Australia has also refused to
give them asylum.

Source:- The Times, Friday July 19 page 13

Prisons to stay full until at least October

Prisons in England and Wales will be full until at least
October, the head of the prison service told MPs last night.

Director general Martin Narey said the 71,400 jail population
was only a couple of hundred short of the “usable prison capacity”
and 111 inmates were being kept in police cells yesterday.

He also confirmed that spending negotiations between the
chancellor and the home secretary over his bid for 10,800 more
prison places have still not been resolved.

Source:- The Guardian, Friday July 19 page 8

Scottish and Welsh papers

Fine dodgers to be excused jail

Offenders who fail to pay fines will no longer be jailed if
Scottish executive plans go through in a bid to cut the prison

Latest figures show that almost one in four people jailed in
Scotland are imprisoned because of non-payment of fines. In recent
months Scotland’s prison population has escalated to a new
high of 6,666 with some prisons at 40 per cent over capacity.
Scottish executive officials are drawing up plans to run pilots at
two courts where alternatives to custody will be imposed.

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 19 July page 1

SNP will be tough on young offenders

The Scottish National Party has announced that it will crack
down on young offenders doubling the number of secure accommodation
places in the country if they gain power.

SNP leader, John Swinney, also pledged to improve youth services
around the country in an effort to make young people feel more
valued. Labour accused the SNP of “economic illiteracy” and said
that the SNP had costed the doubling of secure placements at
£20m, while the real figure was £63m in the first

Source:- The Herald Friday 19 July page 6

‘Village’ hopes for patients at

Gwent Health Authority and the families of four vulnerable
residents of Llanfrecha Grange Hospital in south Wales have reached
a compromise over their future care.

Following the withdrawal of the judicial review at the High
Court in London, there is now to be a feasibility study into the
merits of the hospital’s residents moving into a
‘village community’.

Bob Hudson, chief executive of the health authority, said that
he welcomed the settlement and added that a village community might
be incorporated into the existing hospital site if the families
could form a ‘partnership’ with potential

John Evans, the father of one of the residents, said that he
welcomed the decision as a ‘step in the right
direction’ for the remaining residents at the Grange but much
remained to be done.

Source:- South Wales Argus Thursday 18 July page 7

Face from the past drives rape victim to

A woman killed herself following the trauma of coming face to
face with the uncle who had raped her 20 years earlier because she
was given no warning of his release from prison.

Following Siobhan Lee’s death her distraught partner
Elliot Jones also took his own life because he could not bear to
live without her.

After an inquest into the couple’s deaths yesterday,
Siobhan’s father John Lee and victim support agencies said
the couple would never have killed themselves if more had been done
to protect Siobhan from her attacker.

Victim Support spokesperson Andrew Buckingham said: “This should
not have happened. There are clear guidelines now which say victims
of sex attackers or those deemed to be dangerous should be
contacted when perpetrators are about to be released.”

Source:- Western Mail Friday 19 July page 1

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