Town hall power

Town hall power
Local government leaders have called on Ruth Kelly to bring forward reforms to devolve power from Whitehall to town halls. They asked for assurances that a white paper on local government reform, due next month, would still go ahead.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 18 May 2006, page 2

PM promises tough line on deportations
The prime minister reinforced his commitment to deporting the “vast bulk” of foreign prisoners yesterday after their sentences, regardless of the danger they could face.
Source:- The Guardian, Thursday 18 May 2006, page 1

Actor in court on child porn charges
Chris Langham appeared in court yesterday charged with 15 counts of making indecent images of children.
Source:- The Guardian, Thursday 18 May 2006, page 1

GPs’ surgeries full
Three quarters of GPs say their practices are “bursting at the seams” and will soon be unsuitable for treating patients unless they get more money, according to a survey by the British Medical Association.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 18 May 2006, page 2

Teacher faces jail
A deputy head teacher was facing jail after admitting sex offences against two girls over 22 years. Stephen Brenchley, admitted five sex offences at Norwich crown court.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 18 May 2006, page 4

Babysitter rapist
A babysitter who raped two girls, aged 5 and 6 in his care has been detained at a young offender institution for five years. He told the girls he would kill their dog if they spoke about the attacks. Brian Peacock was sentenced at Leeds crown court.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 18 May 2006, page 9

How can this happen here?
The barbaric treatment of parents in supposed child-abuse cases is an affront to a civilized country.Many social workers and judges are so terrified of false negatives that they hasten to false positives for which they will never be accountable. Abuse has become the default diagnosis in the face of the unexplained.
Source:- The Times, Thursday 18 May 2006, page 20

DNA held on 51,000 children
Details of the DNA of more than 50,000 children have been recorded on the police national database even though they have not been charged or cautioned. Conservative MP Grant Shapps, speaking on behalf of the Children Off National DNA Database campaign, wants children to be removed from files.
Source:- Daily Mail, Thursday 18 May 2006, page 19

Scottish news

Domestic abuse ads praised for helping women
Nearly 10,000 calls have been made to a domestic abuse helpline since the launch of a new advertising campaign, the Scottish executive has revealed.
Support groups praised the television and radio adverts, which ran from Boxing Day until the end of January, for grabbing the public’s attention and giving a voice to abused women.
They included hard hitting images of physical and psychological abuse on women by their partners.
Source:- The Scotsman, Thursday 18 May 2006

The wardens work 9-5, so Winnie lay helpless for hours
A pensioner had to be rescued by police after falling at a sheltered housing complex – because wardens only work nine-to-five.
Winnie Winspear, who had just been discharged from hospital, lay on the floor for nearly two hours after falling at 7am when she got up to make a cup of tea. A neighbour heard her cries for help and as the door was locked, pulled the alarm cord in her own home.
But she was contacted by a call centre and told a warden could not come to help Winnie up because they did not start work until 9am, despite living in the same complex.
Source:- The Scotsman, Thursday 18 May2006

Homeless fears over debt laws
MSPs have criticised “draconian” proposals that could see people lose their homes over debts of £1500.
The enterprise committee called for debtors’ houses to be protected from measures in the Bankruptcy and Diligence Bill, brought in to replace the discredited warrant sales system.
A key proposal in the bill is that creditors can apply to the courts for a land attachment that would force debtors to sell their homes to pay what they owe.
Source:- The Record, Thursday 18 May 2006

Welsh news

Rural housing in crisis as property costs soar
A report reveals average house prices are now running at almost seven times higher than average salaries in many of the nation’s rural counties.
Research by the Halifax shows that single income families and single workers are among the aspiring first-time buyers particularly hardest hit by the problem, which can often make it difficult for them to get mortgages in their home communities.
Source;- Western Mail, Thursday 18 May 2006

Soaring cost of school trips a burden on families
Increasingly exotic school trips have prompted parents and children’s rights campaigners to express concern about their spiralling cost.
Sara Reid, assistant children’s commissioner for Wales, said, “It’s something we’re concerned about. It’s good that there are trips that help widen children’s horizons and good experiences they might not be able to get within easy travelling distance of school.
“But it’s a concern that those children not just from families who are living in poverty, but for a lot of other families it means they have to struggle and cut back on other things for their children to not feel left out.”
Source:- Western Mail, Thursday 18 May 2006

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