Tuesday 24 February 2004

By Natasha Salari, Amy Taylor, Clare Jerrom and Alex

Schools in confusion over random drug

Confusion surrounded Tony Blair’s new policy proposing random drug
testing in schools yesterday as the government admitted that
headteachers would have no powers to make students provide the
necessary samples.
The Department for Education and Skills spokesperson said: “It is
certainly up to the child. If they don’t want to give a sample,
they can say no. But if they do [refuse], they could be breaking
school rules.”
However, Blair has previously stated that new government guidelines
out next month would giver heads the power to do random drug
testing in schools.
Source:- The Times Tuesday 24 February, page 4
Blair urges end to MMR controversy
Tony Blair called for an end to the controversy around MMR after
research causing the original concern was labelled as “fatally
flawed” due to a conflict of interest.
The prime minister said that he now hoped that people would see
there was no evidence of a link between MMR and autism.
His comments come shortly after Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief
medical officer, called for an investigation into allegations about
the research by Dr Andrew Wakefield.
Source:- The Financial Times Tuesday 24 February page 4
Benefits clampdown for new EU citizens
Home secretary David Blunkett last night unveiled tough
restrictions on jobseekers coming to Britain after 10 new member
states join the European Union on 1 May.
His decision will mean that jobseekers from eight EU newcomers from
the old Soviet bloc will have full rights to enter Britain from 1
May along with tourists and other visitors. But they will be
required to join a workers registration scheme once they have found
a job, and will have to provide evidence that they are being paid
at least the minimum wage.
New migrant workers will not be eligible for the full range of UK
benefits, such as income support, until they have been in
continuous employment for at least 12 months. Those who fail to
find jobs will be unable to claim benefit for two years.
Source: The Guardian Tuesday 24 February page 1
Hodge rules out adoptions reversal
Children who were taken into care after their parents were wrongly
suspected of causing the cot death of a sibling will not be
returned to their natural families, the children’s minister
said yesterday.
Margaret Hodge told councils to start an urgent review of care
proceedings involving children who have not yet been adopted. But
she warned that it would not be possible to unscramble the
adoptions that were arranged after the courts accepted medical
evidence that has recently been discredited, including the
interpretation of the causes of cot death by the retired
paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow.
Source: The Guardian Tuesday 24 February page 9
Pensioner pumps up tax fury
The revolt by older people against council tax increases will gain
momentum tomorrow when a retired social worker in Exeter goes
before magistrates for arrears of £91.
Sylvia Hardy, aged 72, will join other older people in Devon
threatening to go to prison in prison at a record 18 per cent tax
rise in the county this year.
She is also planning to stand as a non-party candidate representing
a local older people’s forum in a county council by-election
in Exeter on Thursday. Next year, council tax protesters are
threatening to fight every seat in Devon.
Source: The Guardian Tuesday 24 February page 11
Scottish newspapers
Poor healthcare for old

Too many older people are being needlessly admitted to acute
hospital wards while healthcare for older people in their own homes
is too often limited to five days a week, a report claimed
Acute care for older people in Scotland was improving, a report by
health service inspectors said, although it warned that more needed
to be done to extend high quality care across Scotland.
The report by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland praised the work of
multi-agency teams providing help for people at home which
prevented the need for hospital admissions. However, most of these
services were only available five days a week, rather than
Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 24 February
Ministers ignored own report to close Airborne

Scottish executive inspectors praised the Airborne Initiative for
young offenders in a report just weeks before it was closed down by
In the report social work inspectors refer to a list of
improvements implemented by the initiative for persistent young
criminals, which they describe as encouraging, giving staff the
clear impression that the unit had a future.
First minister Jack McConnell yesterday insisted that ministers
were right to withdraw the £600,000 funding from the centre in
Source:- The Scotsman  Tuesday 24 February
‘Scotland needs you’ McConnell says to new EU
Scotland is set to advertise for eastern European workers
after David Blunkett decided against giving the country legislative
powers to secure a greater share of the migrants who will be
granted an automatic right to live in the UK from May this
The home secretary decided against a scheme which would make it
easier for eastern Europeans to secure a job in Scotland rather
than London and the south east.
However, Blunkett will instead back first minister Jack
McConnell’s plans to advertise Scotland to the 13,000 workers
expected to arrive in the UK from the 10 accession countries
through various initiatives to be announced to the Scottish
Parliament tomorrow.
Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 24 February
Welsh newspapers
Every school in Wales now blighted by drugs

Every secondary school in Wales now has pupils who are taking drugs
and in some cases even primary school children are being treated
for solvent abuse.
Figures from the Welsh assembly show that 17 per cent of those
seeking treatment for drug abuse are aged 19 or under. Dr Chris
Howard, president of the National Association of Head Teachers
Cymru, said that most secondary schools in Wales were coming across
cases where children were taking drugs during lunchtimes or coming
into school with drugs to sell.
Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 24 February page 1
Helping teenagers to stub out the smoking

An initiative that has halved the number of teenage smokers in
Guernsey could have similar success in Wales, according to the man
who led the project.
The Guernsey Adolescent Smoke-Free Project (GASP) began in 1997
when the proportion of teenagers who smoked on the island was
higher than the UK average. Since then the community initiatives
run by GASP and a rise from 16 to 18 in the legal age for buying
tobacco, has contributed to a sharp fall in the numbers of
teenagers smoking.
Alun Williams, chairperson of GASP, says that similar methods could
succeed in Wales.
Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 24 February page 2
Ban sugary drinks in school
A Welsh MP is to introduce a ten-minute rule bill in the House of
Commons in an attempt to ban sugary drinks and snacks in
Cardiff Central MP Jon Owen Jones wants schools in England and
Wales to stop sending mixed messages to young people by talking
about the merits of a healthy diet and at the same time selling
unhealthy snacks.
Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 24 February page 3

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