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
    minister

    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
    government.

    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
    government.

    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
    banned.

    Source:- The Guardian  Thursday 17 June page 14

    Prescott will give councils new powers to curb
    travellers

    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
    picture’

    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
    issue.

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

    Source:- Evening News  Wednesday 16 June

    McConnell facing rebellion over Antisocial Behaviour
    Bill

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

    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
    years.

    Source:- Evening News  Wednesday 16 June

    Welsh newspapers

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

    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
    problem.

    Source:- Western Mail Thursday 17 June page 9

     

     

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