Monday 10 February 2003

By Amy Taylor, Nicola Barry and Alex

Pledge to halve asylum seekers derided

Critics are saying Tony Blair’s credibility is on the line over
his pledge, made in an interview with BBC TV’s
‘Newsnight’, to halve the number of asylum seekers
coming to Britain by September.

The claim has been dismissed as unachievable by many with
figures out this month expected to show that asylum numbers were
over 100,000 last year.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Saturday 8 February page

Blunkett says Blair’s pledge on asylum seekers

David Blunkett has branded Tony Blair’s promise of halving the
number of asylum seekers arriving in Britain by September as

Speaking privately, the home secretary said he would be looking
at Blair’s comments as “a direction not a target”.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 9 February page 1

Old people’s homes ‘misuse drugs to subdue

One in five nursing home residents is being wrongly prescribed
powerful drugs, according to a new survey.

The research, which covered more than 900 people in 22 homes,
found that 24.5 per cent of those studied had been given
“neuroleptic” medicines, drugs used to treat people with mental
health problems, and to make patients more subdued.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 9 February page 6

Four new asylum sites to be named

Beverly Hughes, the minister for citizenship and immigration, is
expected to make an announcement this week disclosing the locations
of up to four new accommodation centres for 3,000 asylum

The announcement is expected to coincide with the release of new
figures showing the number of people trying to claim political
asylum in Britain is higher than it has ever been.

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 9 February page

Suicide at refugee centre sparks hunger

The suicide of an asylum seeker, who was due to be deported back
to his native Ukraine the next day, has alarmed campaigners who
argue that the government’s plans to detain more refugees and
deport them in a shorter space of time, will cause more to take
their own lives.

Mikhail Bodnarchuk was found hanged by his shoelaces at Haslar
removal centre in Gosport, Hampshire. A week later another man,
thought to be from Africa, is fighting for his life after also
trying to hang himself last Friday. Bodnarchuk’s death has prompted
a hunger strike to draw attention to the conditions at the

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 9 February page

Council chief’s pay soars as tax rises loom

Many council chief executives have been given pay rises of up to
10 times the rate of inflation while council tax is set to be

Some of the local authority heads have seen their salaries rise
by 30 per cent this year, and many earn more than ministers.

Source:- The Sunday Times 9 February page 11

85 per cent think asylum is out of control

85 per cent of those questioned in a Mori poll, commissioned by
Migration Watch UK, the independent monitor, do not think ministers
have control over asylum or immigration.

Source:- The Sunday Times 9 February page 10

Blair’s target on asylum is a ‘long-term aim,’ says Home

Conservatives are calling for clarification over Tony Blair’s
pledge to halve the number of asylum seekers arriving in Britain by
September. “Does the government have a target or a commitment to
reduce asylum applications by half by September or not?” said
Oliver Letwin, the shadow home secretary. “If so how does it hope
to achieve this result?”

The home office has denied claims that David Blunkett, the home
secretary, had branded the target as unachievable, but said that
halving the figure was a “long-term aim”.

Source:- The Independent Monday 10 February page 8

Asylum test case fast tracks to high court

The high court will today witness a challenge to the
government’s decision to deny state benefits to asylum seekers who
make their claims “late” as part of the attempt to halve the number
of immigrants arriving in Britain by September.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 10 February page 7

Scottish newspapers

Challenge to Dunblane 100 year secrecy

MSPs are demanding access to the police report into Dunblane
murderer Thomas Hamilton, which has been placed under a public
secrecy order for 100 years, fuelling concerns that the
unprecedented decision was taken to protect high profile figures
connected to the killer.

There has been long running speculation that certain prominent
Scots were closely connected to Hamilton through freemasonry.

Lord advocate Colin Boyd QC is to be lobbied for public access
to the report. Lawyers said the decision to suppress it for 100
years is “extraordinary” and open to legal challenge.

Source:- The Sunday Herald 9 February page 1

Drug workers cleared to give children

Children under 16 are to be given free needles by drug workers
under new guidelines issued by the government.

Only trained medical staff have been able to hand out needles to
child drug addicts until now. Under new guidelines, which have been
issued to all Scotland’s health boards, drug workers will be
able to hand out free needles so children can inject heroin.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 9 February page 7

Care homes facing crisis

The majority of calls to Alzheimer Scotland’s helpline are
from families struggling to find residential care for relatives
with dementia.

Residents with dementia and other complex needs are now being
asked to leave residential homes as their condition deteriorates,
because funding shortages mean homes can no longer look after them.
Thousands are forced into hospital causing delayed discharge
problems or back home to be cared for by relatives.

Source:- Sunday Herald 9 February page 5

Primary school agony aunts swamped with pleas for

An agony aunt scheme, appointed by education officials to tackle
the mental health needs of young children, has been swamped with
letters from primary schoolchildren worrying about bullying at
school, family break-up and sexual abuse.

Charmian Currie, mental health development officer with East
Lothian council, has been taken aback by the huge response from
children writing in for help.

Source:- The Sunday Herald 9 February page 5

Pupil to sue over abuse trauma

One of Scotland’s most prestigious private schools is
facing legal action by a former pupil who was sexually assaulted on
a trip to London.

The 17-year-old claims staff at Hutcheson’s Grammar in
Glasgow failed to provide support after an incident. When he was
14, the boy was groped by a 42-year-old man who was later
prosecuted and placed on the sex offenders register. The boy has
been plagued by suicidal thoughts ever since the incident.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 9 February page 10

Fighting for both parents’ IVF rights

A woman who discovered her stored embryos had been destroyed on
the instruction of her ex-husband has backed moves by an MP to
strengthen the rights of both partners during and after in vitro

Margaret Grant, from Inverness, discovered her former spouse had
ordered the destruction of the embryos after the couple split while
undergoing fertility treatment.

Source:-The Scotsman Monday 10 February page 4

Welsh newspapers

Foster mother speaks out

The foster mother of a girl bludgeoned to death by her foster
father says that the 13-year-old has been forgotten in the justice

Lois Jenkins, a social worker, whose former husband, Sion
Jenkins, was jailed for life for killing Billie-Joe in 1997 says
that domestic violence should never be excused or tolerated.

She said that she wished that she had addressed her
husband’s violent outbursts.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 10 February page 3

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