Thursday 19 December 2002

By Amy Taylor, Nicola Barry and Alex

Missed housing targets adds to Labour’s list of

The government’s battle to meet its targets in a range of public
services was shown yesterday by its latest failure – that 100
councils will not be able to comply with aims to make all social
housing ‘decent’ by 2010.

The admission comes in new ‘autumn departmental performance
reports’ being published quietly by Whitehall departments.

It follows previous admissions that the government will not meet
targets to cut traffic congestion, improve literacy standards for
11-year-olds, or remove 30,000 asylum seekers. Major anti-drugs
targets have also been scrapped.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 19 December page 1

Blunkett payout for abuse libel pair

The home secretary, David Blunkett, has agreed to pay
compensation to Dawn Reed and Christopher Lillie, the former
nursery nurses who won a libel case after falsely being accused of
child abuse.

The pair have been exonerated of criminal charges by Blunkett,
based on the facts arising from a case in the civil courts.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 19 December page 5

Council must pay damages to couple who adopted ‘wild

A couple who adopted a “wild child” they claim was so
emotionally disturbed that he made their lives unbearable, won an
unprecedented claim for damages in the high court yesterday.

The couple, who cannot be named, said they would never have
adopted the boy had they been told the true facts about him by
Essex council, who placed him and his younger sister for

The judge awarded them damages for the effects they suffered
from the boy’s placement with them, but not for anything they
suffered as a result of the adoption. He said that by the time the
adoption was finalised, they knew the worst about the boy and had
still gone ahead with it, so Essex was not to blame

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 19 December page 6

Childcare policy fails to help poor

The Chancellor’s flagship childcare policy amounts to a “drop in
the ocean” that is failing to help enough of Britain’s poor
families, the trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt,
conceded yesterday.

Hewitt said that her department and the Treasury were to
investigate why the childcare tax credit, which helps relatively
low income working parents pay nursery or childminding costs, has
not fulfilled government hopes.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 19 December page 9

Ainlee’s death blamed on staff ‘paralysed by

A two-year-old girl was tortured to death because social workers
and health visitors were afraid of her violent parents and would
not visit their home, a report concluded yesterday.

Ainlee Labonte’s body was marked by 64 bruises when paramedics
found her dead in a dirty council flat in January of this year.

Her parents, Leanne Labonte and Dennis Henry – a “violent,
aggressive, obstructive, devious and dishonest couple” – were
jailed for manslaughter at the Old Bailey three months ago.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Thursday 19 December page

Jail for single mother over truant

A single mother has been sent to prison because her two
daughters, aged 12 and 14, persistently played truant from

The unnamed woman, whose daughters have been attending school
only two or three days a week for the past year, was sentenced to
seven days in prison by Brighton magistrates.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Thursday 19 December page

So much for that deal!

Hundreds of asylum seekers have flooded towards Calais in just a
few days despite the closure of the Sangatte refugee camp.

Almost 100 were found by French police in a sports hall in the
port, and dozens more have been found sleeping rough in the ruins
of a wartime gun battery. Another 100 took over, and many more have
been found camping in sewer pipes.

All are desperate to reach Kent to try and claim asylum in

Source:- The Daily Mail Thursday 19 December page

Swiss town’s immigrant ‘apartheid’

A small Swiss town has caused outrage with a plan to bar asylum
seekers from using public facilities such as swimming pools and

It is planning to enforce its proposal with signs showing a
black figure inside a red circle, with a red line through the

Meilen councillors said they were fed up with ‘rowdies’ from an
asylum centre on the outskirts of the town.

Source:- The Daily Mail Thursday 19 December page

Scottish newspapers

Patients in Carstairs fight for sex rights

The State Hospital at Carstairs could become the first in
Britain to allow conjugal visits.

Patients are expected to make a legal challenge to end the
maximum security hospital’s ban on sex.

Source:- Daily Express Thursday 19 December page 8

Executive introduces tough new targets to tackle youth

Tough new targets to improve the youth justice system north of
the border will be revealed today.

Minister for young people Cathy Jamieson will announce more than
100 new national standards aimed at speeding up the
children’s hearing system, and improving the performance of
local authority youth justice teams.

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 19 December page 13

Housing transfer is over the threshold

Glasgow yesterday took the penultimate step in the controversial
handover of its 82,000 houses to a new landlord.

The city council’s ruling Labour group voted 52 to nine in
favour of the switch to the Glasgow Housing Association after more
than three years of fractious negotiations.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 19 December page 11

MSP criticises needle scheme for drug

Police are to hand out needles and syringes to drug addicts at
police stations in Lanarkshire as part of a drive to combat an
increase in HIV and hepatitis infections.

The plan has been condemned as “defeatist” by Bill Aitken, Tory
deputy justice spokesperson, who says police should be tougher on
people who use drugs.

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 19 December page 11

Cost fears over move to help homeless

A row broke out yesterday after ministers vowed to spend about
£127 million on tackling homelessness amid fears that the
proposals were uncosted and that homeless people from south of the
border might be attracted to Scotland.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 19 December page 8

Call to keep drug users out of jail

Users found guilty of possessing drugs should be referred to the
health service for treatment, not put in prison, according to a
report published today.

The document, ‘Making Sense of Drugs and Crime’,
produced by the Scottish Consortium on Crime and Criminal Justice,
claims imprisoning drug users marginalises rather than helps

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 19 December page 10

Welsh newspapers

Suicide-bid boy ‘could be

A 15-year-old boy, who became the first child in Britain to be
charged with attempting to procure a suicide, could be suffering
from a form of autism, a court was told.

Earlier this year, a jury decided that the boy who cannot be
named for legal reasons had encouraged his 15-year-old girlfriend
to jump from a jetty at a seaside resort.

As a result she suffered serious injuries but yesterday in
Carmarthen crown court where the teenager was appearing for
sentencing, two experts told the judge that the boy was probably at
the less disabled end of autism spectrum disorder.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 19 December page 8

High-level summit will discuss child protection

Child protection will be top of the agenda at four
ground-breaking conferences to be held in Wales in the New

Experts in child abuse will gather for a series of seminars that
will look at different aspects of the problem. The first seminar
will take place at the All Nations Conference Centre, Cardiff, and
will examine shaken baby syndrome.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 19 December page 9

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