Councils fail to give value for money
Annual council performance tables show nearly half were providing only minimum value for money. The Audit Commission found 41 per cent of unitary and county councils were delivering adequate use of resources while five per cent were said to be below the minimum score.
Source:- Independent, Thursday 15 December 2005, page 19

NHS hospitals dirty
Two hospitals in three are failing to achieve high standards of cleanliness, with mental health units the worst, the Healthcare Commission has reported.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Thursday 15 December 2005, page 2

Feral street gang who killed for kicks
Four youths have been found guilty of beating a man to death and videoing the attack on a mobile phone. One of the gang, a girl, was 14 at the time.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Thursday 15 December 2005, page 4

Stepfather jailed for Christmas beatings that killed a little girl
A three year old girl’s final Christmas amounted to a gathering storm of abuse that involved her being beaten, punched, kicked and burned by her mother’s boyfriend.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Thursday 15 December 2005, page 11

Teacher planned post-exam night in hotel with pupil
An English teacher who planned to spend the night in a hotel with one of her pupils to celebrate the end of his GCSEs was spared jail by magistrates yesterday.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Thursday 15 December 2005, page 11

Boy caught asbestosis at father’s knee
Britain’s youngest victim of asbestosis caught the deadly disease while playing on his stepfather’s knee almost 30 years ago, an inquest was told yesterday. Barry Welch died at his home in Leicester last year, aged 32.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Thursday 15 December 2005, page 11

Welsh news

Family doctor cleared of murdering patients
A GP cleared of murdering three of his patients walked free from court yesterday after “eight weeks of hell on earth”. Howard Martin, 71, of Gwynedd, North Wales, said that he was only doing his job by giving them high doses of morphine. He has always denied murdering Frank Moss, 59, Stanley Weldon and Harry Gittins, both 74.
Source:- Western Mail, Thursday, 15 December 2005

Scottish news

Council tax rise of £72 after lack of executive funding
Householders could face an average £72 rise in council tax bills next year because the Scottish executive has given local government too little money to meet spending needs. A report by MSPs has suggested ministers give some of the extra £40m coming to Scotland as a result of the Chancellor’s recent pre-budget report to councils and keep tax rises to a minimum.
MSPs said councils were facing a funding shortfall of £85m next year, forcing them to raise council tax by 6.6% or to cut services.
Source:- The Herald, Thursday 15 December 2005

Soaring levels of assaults blighting Scotland’s streets
The number of victims of murder and culpable homicide in Scotland has soared more than 25% to 137 last year. A knife or other sharp instrument was the most common murder weapon, accounting for 72 victims, also the highest figure for ten years.
Glasgow has one of the highest murder rates of any western European city, with 55 victims per million people, compared with 22 for Scotland overall.
Source:- The Herald, Thursday 15 December 2005


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