Thursday 6 February 2003

By Amy Taylor, Nicola Barry and Alex

£22bn plan ‘to bulldoze North and concrete

Deputy prime minister John Prescott yesterday announced the
“sustainable communities” programme under which he plans to build
200,000 homes by 2016. These will be in addition to the 900,000
homes already planned by local authorities.

£22 billion will be available under the plan to build the
extra homes and Prescott pledged £5 billion of this to be set
aside for “affordable housing” for those on modest wages, and
£1 billion to provide housing for public sector workers.

The new houses have been earmarked for the Thames Gateway, the
M11 Corridor from London to Stansted and Cambridge, Milton Keynes
and Ashford, while in contrast Prescott said that the demolition of
housing was the only option in order to regenerate parts of the

Source:- The Times Thursday 6 February page 4

Deprived boroughs to get new schools

Education minister Stephen Twigg has announced plans to build 20
secondary schools over the next five years with the majority being
in London’s most deprived boroughs.

While making the announcement Twigg also said that parents who
send their children to a school outside the borough in which they
live are holding down educational standards in London. He hopes
that the new plan will stop parents taking their children to other
boroughs in order to go to better schools, a practice currently
followed by prime minister Tony Blair.

Source:- The Times Thursday 6 February page 10

You can’t quit treaties, Blair warned

Tony Blair’s suggestions that Britain may withdraw from the
asylum obligations placed on them by international human rights
treaties are likely to be ruled illegal by the British courts.

The cabinet has been warned of the possible consequences if a
withdrawal does take place. They have also been told that if
Britain withdraws from the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees this
would lead to the fall of the international protection regime,
leaving millions of people in limbo.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 6 February page 11

Fear of the unknown cranked up by tabloids

Proposals to place a crown asylum appeals court on the outskirts
of Newport, south Wales, have left residents with a “fear of the

The court will be used by asylum seekers awaiting decisions on
their appeals against immigration and asylum decisions made by the
home office.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 6 February page 11

System still ‘unwell’, but in recovery

Britain’s asylum system is actually improving with only a few
parts still in need of reform.

The system suffered a massive breakdown four years ago when the
then immigration minister Anne Widdecombe announced the
installation of a new computer system for dealing with immigration
issues together with the cutting of 1,200 staff, experienced in
working with asylum cases.

When Jack Straw became home secretary he made the situation
worse by forcing immigration staff to move headquarters.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 6 February page 11

Councils get power to lease empty homes

New plans announced by John Prescott will give councils power to
compulsorily lease out empty houses in London and the south

The measures are part of the deputy prime minister’s measures to
deal with the housing shortage in the south east that has caused
prices to rocket.

He described it as being unacceptable that 70,000 privately
owned properties in the area of greatest housing shortage have
stood empty for over six months.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Thursday 6 February page

Asylum pupils ‘disrupt lessons for

The education of tens of thousands of children is being
threatened by the influx of asylum seeker children, according to a
report out yesterday.

The research, conducted under David Bell, the new chief
inspector of schools, said the problem lay with lessons being
disrupted because the asylum seekers are often placed in schools at
short notice, and with a poor knowledge of English. This
exacerbated situations that were already difficult due to unruly

Source:- The Daily Mail Thursday 6 February page 8

Paid to be a father

Fathers will be able to claim £25 of taxpayers money to pay
for “expenses” incurred when taking their children on “educational
outings”, outside school time.

The Active Dads Project is being piloted in Norfolk over the
next month, but could go nationwide if it is seen as

Source:- The Daily Mail Thursday 6 February page 9

Scottish newspapers

Baby shaken to death was on at risk

A brain-damaged father shook his baby son to death while the
child was on an at risk register.

As Alexander Ness was remanded in custody to await sentence for
killing Caleb, aged 11 weeks, questions were raised over a decision
by social workers to allow Caleb home from hospital, where the baby
had already been treated for a previous injury.

The baby’s mother, Shirley Malcolm was a recovering drug
addict with two other children who had been fostered because of her

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 6 February page 4

Homes run out of room for elderly

A new report has revealed that families are struggling to find
old people’s homes with room to take in their elderly

Researchers from Which? trawled 70 care homes across the UK and
found just 15 with a single room available. In Glasgow just two out
of 10 homes were able to provide a space.

The researchers were repeatedly told homes were not taking new
residents because they were closing down or changing

Source:- The Herald Thursday 6 February page 13

Sally Anguish

A lung cancer patient yesterday claimed she was treated “like a
leper” by her Salvation Army bosses after telling them she was
terminally ill.

Care assistant Jennette MacDonald said the Christian charity,
set up to care for the needy, showed no compassion. Despite seven
year’s service, she said bosses refused to give her time off
for chemotherapy treatment, saying she must attend hospital in her
own time or sign herself off sick that day.

Source:- Daily Record Thursday 6 February page 25

Welsh newspapers

Unfair’ claim is turned down

A Cardiff social worker, sacked for refusing to discipline a
whistleblower colleague, has lost his claim for unfair

An employment tribunal upheld a decision by Cardiff council to
sack Neil White in August last year.

White had refused to carry out proceedings against Beverley
Bush, who had exposed serious concerns about the running of
Hazelcroft nursing home in Cardiff.

White was said to have divulged confidential information and
failed to carry out orders.

Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday 5 February page

Managers to be replaced after report

Two managers are to be replaced following a highly critical
joint review of social services in Cardiff.

Council chief executive Byron Davies has written to staff
explaining that Keith Thompson, chief children’s services
officer, and Gareth Williams, chief families and community care
officer, are to be replaced.

An internal memo says that that both of the managers are
‘very supportive’ of the strategy for change.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 6 February page 3

Children’s lives at

A whistleblower told a tribunal that she was sacked because she
voiced concern over the fate of disabled children.

Bernice Pinnington was sacked from her job at a special needs
school in Swansea because she warned grandparents of a child at the
school, that a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order (DNR), was
contained on the child’s file.

Nine-year-old Anna Marie Davies suffered from a rare brain
disorder, and the DNR order meant that if she collapsed or stopped
breathing staff should not revive her.

Pinnington claims that Anna’s family had not been told of
the order.

But the school, Ysgol Crug Glas and the local authority denied
that Pinnington’s dismissal was related to the incident, and
said no DNR order was ever in place at the school.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 6 February page 5

Educator recalled to Owen inquiry

A senior education official is to be recalled to the Clywch
inquiry to answer questions about the information passed to the
police during the original investigation into the activities of
alleged paedophile, John Owen.

David Matthews, currently director of education for Bridgend
gave evidence to the inquiry earlier this week about his part in
the 1991 investigation into Owen’s alleged activities while
he was a drama teacher at a school near Pontypridd.

He is to be recalled after police officers told the inquiry that
they were not aware of all the information that potential witnesses
gave to school or local education authority staff.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 6 February page 9

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