Child Support Agency to be scrapped
The Child Support Agency is to be scrapped by 2008, John Hutton indicated yesterday as he rejected a £300m rescue plan. The work and pensions secretary told MPs he could not justify extra spending that would still leave half of all lone parents waiting for maintenance payments.
Source:- Financial Times, Friday 10 February 2006, page 2

Compulsory work plan to cut prison numbers
A big expansion of compulsory unpaid community work by offenders, including helping to prepare the site for the 2012 Olympics, were at the heart of the government’s five-year prison plan. A new sentence of “custody plus” will see most of the 61,000 offenders a year who are sent down for 12 months or less spending less time inside and more on community punishments.
Source:- The Guardian, Friday 10 February 2006, page 16

Business sceptical about wider role in reformed justice system
A greater role for the private sector in the criminal justice system has been thrown into doubt, with business accusing ministers of bowing to “vested interests” and watering down plans for reform. The Home Office’s latest five-year prisons strategy delayed any detailed plans for extending the role of the private sector until the spring at the earliest.
Source:- Financial Times, Friday 10 February 2006, page 3

UK faces sharp rise in spending on health and long-term care
Public spending on health and long-term care will rise sharply as a proportion of national income by 2050 unless the government takes steps to increase efficiency and productivity in healthcare, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said yesterday.
Source:- Financial Times, Friday 10 February 2006, page 4

BT and Microsoft join businesses hoping to run Blair’s trust schools
Businesses including Microsoft, EMI and BT have all expressed their interest in government plans for a network of independently-run “trust” schools.
Source:- The Independent, Friday 10 February 2006, page 22 

Care home nightmare
A pensioner who was taken to hospital suffering from life-threatening malnutrition and bed sores due to care home neglect was won a substantial payout. The family of Lily Leatham, 81, took the private Laurel Bank nursing home in Halifax to court for neglect and the home admitted liability.
Source:- Daily Mail, Friday 10 February 2006, page 31

Have thousands been wrongly forced to pay?
Tens of thousands of vulnerable and elderly care home residents may have been wrongly made to pay bills running to thousands of pounds a month. Ministers are re-examining the rules on who should pay for care following a landmark court ruling that called the guidelines “fatally flawed”.
Source:- Daily Mail, Friday 10 February 2006, page 31

Who killed Billie-Jo?
Sion Jenkins walked free from court yesterday when the jury in the third murder trial failed to decide whether he was guilty of killing his foster daughter, Billie-Jo.
Source:- The Times, Friday 10 February 2006, page 1, pages 6-7

Parents guilty
The parents of two children killed by fire after being locked in their bedroom have been convicted of child neglect and will be sentenced later. Northampton crown court was told that Lindsay and Scott Miller ignored the screams of Nathan, 2, and Jeremy, 18 months, because of a planned “romantic evening.”
Source:- The Times, Friday 10 February 2006, page 4

Mutiny fears delay schools reform
The government is likely to be forced to delay its education bill again to avoid further provoking Labour MPs during a week of expected revolts.
Source:- The Times, Friday 10 February 2006, page 9

Scottish news

Council reform fast approaching
Jack McConnell has signalled the imminent reform of local government as authorities across the country set council tax levels ranging from a freeze in Glasgow to rises of almost five per cent.
The average increase was 3.3 per cent, above the 2.5 per cent target set by ministers, but lower than some councils had previously estimated.
However, some councils managed to keep tax rises to virtually zero and the first minister said “the time is fast approaching” for a review of the role, functions and accountability of councils.
Source:- The Herald, Friday 10 February 2006

Welsh news

Shake-up of councils unlikely, says review
The head of a Welsh Assembly review of local government has said that his investigation is unlikely to call for a dramatic restructuring of councils.
Sir Jeremy Beecham said there was no need for a large scale shake up.
The Assembly government wants councils to work together to improve services.
Source: icWales, Friday 10 February 2006



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