Social services hindered by lack of cash
Social workers cannot deliver the improvements in services demanded by the government without a significant increase in the £14bn annual budget for social care, David Behan, the chief inspector of social services said yesterday.
Source:- The Guardian, Thursday 1 December 2005, page 13

Sure Start sets back the worst placed youngsters, study finds
The government’s flagship Sure Start programme is setting back the behaviour and development of young children in the most alienated households, according to the first big national evaluation of the scheme.
Source:- The Guardian, Thursday 1 December 2005, page 5

New housing gap
Despite an acute shortage of affordable homes, fewer than 20,000 houses a year are now built, the lowest figure since 1925, according to a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 1 December 2005, page 2

Cannabis possession limit to be 500 joints
Drug users caught with enough cannabis to make more than 500 joints will be able to claim that it is for personal use, under Home Office plans published yesterday. Charles Clarke, the home secretary, is planning to set a threshold for the amount of drugs a person can possess without being charged for dealing.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 1 December 2005, page 14

London mayor to get new powers over police
Ken Livingstone will gain sweeping new powers over the police, planning and housing in London under government plans to create American-style mayors and devolve power from Whitehall. Ministers want to test an extension of the Mayor’s powers in London before trying it elsewhere.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 1 December 2005, page 14

Prisoner’s death
Gary Piper, 37, originally from Scarborough, was found hanged in his cell at Winchester prison less than a fortnight after he was jailed by Southampton Crown Court for two years, for wounding his former girlfriend’s lover.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 1 December 2005, page 34

New mental health fear for cannabis users
Cannabis smokers who develop what may seem temporary psychotic symptoms have a high risk of developing severe and lasting psychiatric disorders, according to a study published.
Source:- The Guardian, Thursday 1 December 2005, page 7

Teenager convicted of killing black youth with ice axe
A 17-year-old was convicted yesterday of the racist murder of the teenager Anthony Walker.  Michael Barton was found guilty by the jury at Preston Crown Court. His cousin, Paul Taylor, 20, had pleaded guilty to murder moments before the start of the two-week trial.
Source:- The Guardian, Thursday 1 December 2005, page 9

500 cannabis joints is not trafficking, says Clarke
Anyone caught carrying up to 500 cannabis joints is likely to escape trafficking charges under Home Office proposals published yesterday. Over the next three months the government will be asking experts for their views on plans to introduce thresholds for the first time on the amount of drugs a person can claims is for personal use.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph Thursday 1 December 2005, page 12

Brixton moves from “softly softly” to zero tolerance on cannabis
A zero-tolerance policy on cannabis is being introduced in Brixton, less than two years after the area pioneered a scheme to relax the law. The decision is an admission that the system of warning people, rather than arresting them, is not working in some inner city areas.
Source:- The Independent Thursday 1 December 2005 page 5

Mental Health Bill “biased against black patients”
The Mental Health Bill could lead to more black and minority ethnic patients being subject to compulsory treatment, according to a leaked government advisory group report. The report also criticises ministers for not carrying out a full race-equality impact assessment of the bill.
Source:- The Independent Thursday 1 December 2005 page 24

Scottish news

Teenage gangs banned from an entire village
Young people will be banned from congregating in an entire village after dark at weekends to prevent alcohol related incidents on the streets. Police, in an attempt to tackle antisocial behaviour, have invoked new powers and turned all of Mid Calder, West Lothian, into a dispersal zone.
At times up to 50 teenagers – including some as young as 13 – have been using text messages and the internet to arrange mass fights in the affluent conservation village which is popular with commuters to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Source:-The Herald, Thursday 1 December 2005

Lothian women top Scotland’s boozing league
Women in the Lothians are the hardest drinkers in Scotland, according to new figures. Statistics show that nearly half of women surveyed drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol at least once a week. Alcohol groups today expressed concern at the figures, raising fears for women’s health and warning that excessive drinking left them vulnerable to attacks.
Source:-The Scotsman, Thursday 1 December 2005

More beds blocked
Bed blocking is on the up in Scottish hospitals, according to the latest figures. Last month, there were 875 patients who had been ready for discharge for more than six weeks, 122 more than in July but 143 fewer than last October.
Deputy health minister Lewis Macdonald said: “Too many of our older people are still waiting too long in hospital until more appropriate care for them can be found and this is unacceptable.”
Source:-The Record, Thursday 1 December 2005

Welsh news

Half the population could suffer depression
Up to half the UK’s population could suffer at least one bout of serious depression, according to experts.
Writing in the British Journal of Psychiatry the experts, led by professor Gavin Andrews from the University of New South Wales in Australia, said that likelihood of depression increased when people were young and very old.
Source:- Western Mail, Thursday 1 December


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