Thursday 17 June 2004

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson

Children will help to choose commissioner

Children are to be invited to take part in the selection process
for England’s first children’s commissioner.

Children as young as 11-years-old will sit alongside the public,
private and voluntary sector representatives to make up the
selection board for the post.

Those selected will be asked to devise “a practical
demonstration of the applicants’ ability to work with
children”. They are also likely to be involved in drawing up
the commissioner’s job specification and the advertisement
for the post.

Source:- The Times  Thursday 17 June page 2

Migration will be a trickle not a flood, says

Immigration minister Des Brown announced yesterday that there had
not been a “flood” of migrants to Britain from the new
EU members states since May.

The minister said that early indications were that those who had
come to Britain to work would be staying for weeks and months
rather than years.

Brown said the latest official estimate was that the scale of
migration would be “a trickle not a flood”.

Source:- The Guardian  Thursday 17 June page 2

Call to empower neighbourhoods

Two ministers have proposed that community groups should take on
some of the powers of town halls to reinvigorate local

Yvette Cooper, from the deputy prime minister’s office, and
Nick Raynsford, who is responsible for local government,  insisted
their proposals should not undermine the traditional role of local

Source:- The Guardian  Thursday 17 June page 14

Peers on warpath to strengthen child law

Children’s charities have predicted that a cross-party
alliance of peers will inflict a series of defeats on the
government today at the report stage of the Children Bill in the
House of Lords.

Children’s minister Margaret Hodge made concessions to
strengthen the powers of the children’s commissioner. But the
NSPCC and other charities remain concerned that England’s
commissioner will be weaker than its counterparts in Wales,
Northern Ireland and Scotland.

They expect peers to win votes to further enhance the independence
of the post and charities also want to ensure that smacking is

Source:- The Guardian  Thursday 17 June page 14

Prescott will give councils new powers to curb

Councils are to be given new powers to stop travellers setting up
camp on farm fields, even where they own land.

The Commons select committee for the Office of the Deputy Prime
Minister will publish evidence today confirming new powers to be
enacted before the end of the year which will allow councils to
issue temporary “stop notices”.

Source:- Independent  Thursday 17 June page 23

Parents receive first fines over truanting pupils

Parents who allow their children to play truant or take
unauthorised holiday in term time will be issued with the first
fixed penalty fines from today.

In two-parent homes, each parent will be fined £50 for every
child absent without permission, rising to £100 if not paid
within 28 days.

Five local authorities are the first to be given the new powers
introduced by the government in February to give irresponsible
parents “a short sharp shock”.

Education ministers expect the fines would be used for persistent
truancy and to punish parents who take children out of school
without the head-teachers’ permission.

Source:- Daily Telegraph  Thursday 17 June page 2

Jobless total ‘hides true unemployment

The number of people claiming the Jobseeker’s allowance fell
by 12,000 in May to 862,000, showing an unemployment rate of 2.8
per cent – the lowest since August 1975.

But a wider definition of unemployment used by the International
Labour Organisation put the number of jobless at 1.43 million
– a rate of 4.8 per cent.

Opposition politicians warned that, while unemployment figures have
tumbled, the number of people of working age moved on to long term
sickness benefit has risen significantly.

Source:- Daily Telegraph  Thursday 17 June page 8

Scottish newspapers

Death trial mother weeps in court

The mother of a baby who died with more than 200 injuries on his
body wept in court yesterday as she described the call she made to
emergency services.

Lorna Gray sobbed as she heard a recording of her telling
paramedics that her son John was unconscious.

The toddler suffered a series of injuries over a three month period
while staying at his mother’s boyfriend’s home. Gray
claims John died after falling down the stairs.

Gray and her lover James McEwan deny manslaughter and child
cruelty. The trial continues.

Source:- Daily Record  Thursday 17 June page 9

MSP vote on vice girl zone Bill postponed

A vote on the controversial bill to allow red light tolerance zones
has been postponed to give it a better chance of success.

MSPs were expected to vote on the issue within weeks, but the
debate has been delayed until the Scottish executive’s
working group on prostitution publishes a report on the

The delay has been requested by the bill’s sponsor Margo

Source:- Evening News  Wednesday 16 June

McConnell facing rebellion over Antisocial Behaviour

First minister Jack McConnell is likely to face a Liberal Democrat
rebellion tomorrow when MSPs vote on the Antisocial Behaviour

Leading Lib Dem backbencher Mike Rumbles said he would be voting
against the section of the Bill which would give police new powers
to disperse groups of young people.

It is understood one more Lib Deb will join him and it would only
take two more to defeat the Scottish executive.

Rumbles said he would back a Tory amendment to remove the section
on dispersal altogether.

Source:- Evening News  Wednesday 16 June

Jobless at 29-year low

Unemployment in Scotland is at its lowest level for nearly 30
years, according to the latest statistics.

Figures show the number of people claiming the Jobseeker’s
Allowance in May fell by 1,800 to 92,700, the lowest level in 29

Source:- Evening News  Wednesday 16 June

Welsh newspapers

Hot on the trail of truants- and the parents who let

A feature on the methods used to tackle truancy in Wales. A
reporter spends a day with education welfare officers and police to
see how they work with children and families to combat the

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 17 June page 9



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