‘Parish councils’ may get power to run services

‘Parish councils’ may get power to run services
Residents unhappy with council services could be given last-resort powers to set up their own “parish councils” to take over under proposals in a local government white paper expected to be published next week.
If residents were unhappy with a council service they would be able to issue a “community call for action”. The council would then have to demonstrate what it intended to do to improve the service.
The white paper will also propose that neighbourhood bodies modelled on parish councils be empowered to run the local service or appoint its manager. The bodies would have power to act on local priorities such as grime, quality open spaces and facilities, community safety issues, and youth facilities.
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 15

Account of the Orkney  case
Sixteen years after she was snatched from her family in Orkney amid a torrent of sex abuse allegations, May Willsher is suing social services
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 29

CSA will write off £1bn owed by fathers
The Child Support Agency is to abandon efforts to claw back £1 billion owed by absent fathers, it was revealed yesterday. New laws will allow the organization to write off the debts – the proposal is a key part of a white paper to be published next month. A second body to chase new cases and take on some of the CSA backlog is planned.
Source:- Daily Mail, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 21

Binge drinking to blame for half of all UK violence
More than half of all violence in the UK is fuelled by binge drinking, alarming research has revealed in a Department of Health-backed study. It looked at the link between alcohol, drugs and psychiatric problems and violence.
Source:- Daily Mail, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 20

Free places at private schools for the bright but poor
One of Britain’s leading independent boys’ schools is to throw open its doors to pupils from all backgrounds regardless of their parents’ ability to pay.
The move comes as the Charities Bill, which will require independent schools to “earn” their tax breaks of around £100 million a year by demonstrating they are of “public benefit”, returns to Parliament next week. It is expected to lead to schools providing more bursaries and opening more facilities to the local community.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 1

School expels girl, five, for alleged attacks
A girl of five has been expelled from school in Withington, Manchester, after allegedly attacking teachers and pupils. She is the youngest child to be permanently excluded in the city, Manchester city council confirmed.
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 10

Prison ship sought as crowding crisis grows
John Reid is planning to open a new super-prison ship to hold hundreds of inmates and ease the pressure on the rising prison population.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 2

Attacker of bath girl, 6, guilty of rape
A serial sex predator was told by a judge yesterday that he faced being jailed for life for snatching a six-year-old from her bath and raping her.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 31

Cannabis keeps me sane and happy, says George Michael
Paul Corry, of mental health charity Rethink, said: “As a huge international star any public comments will draw enormous attention. His comments are stupid and naive… cannabis is not a risk-free drug. For a significant minority of people it is a trigger for developing a severe long-term mental illness like schizophrenia.”
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 10

‘Rape victim’ rounds on peer who named her as liar
A woman who was named in the House of Lords as “a serial and repeated liar” after a man found guilty of raping her had his conviction overturned says being outed in parliament was a setback for all victims of sexual assault.
Source:- The Guardian, Saturday 21 October 2006, page 11

Day nursery may harm under-3s, say child experts
An eminent group of child-care experts raises serious concerns today about the long-term effects of putting very young children into inadequate day nurseries.
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, they call for an “urgent national debate” on whether children under three should be cared for by anyone other than trusted and familiar figures in their lives.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Saturday 21 October, page 1

New reality TV phenomenon is … philanthropy
When it launches on Channel 4 next month Secret Millionaire will take five millionaire, would-be philanthropists and force them to live undercover for 10 days on the equivalent of state benefit or doing a menial job for the minimum wage in some of the most deprived areas of Britain.
The makers admit that they are steeled for charges of “poverty tourism”.
Source:- Guardian, Saturday 21 October, page 2

Judge admits: Britain’s youth courts ‘in chaos’
On the eve of two major reports into juvenile justice courtrooms are beset by crisis.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 22 October 2006, page 8

Child autism linked to hours spent watching TV
A new study claims to have found “strong support” for the theory that too much television for small children may trigger autism.
Source:- Sunday Times, 22 October 2006, page 10

Britain is turning into a nation of ‘paedophobes’
Britain is becoming a nation in fear of its teenagers, with a growing number of people refusing to go out after dark because they feel intimidated by young people hanging around on the streets, a survey of adults throughout Europe by think-tank IPPR has found.
Source:- Independent on Sunday, 22 October 2006, page 5

Academies are failing on GCSE results
Half of the first wave of Tony Blair’s flagship academies are failing their pupils, according to internal reports released under freedom of information laws.
Source:- Sunday Times, 22 October 2006, page 12

Britain shuts the door on new wave of migrants
The government is to abandon its ‘open-door’ policy to eastern Europe by restricting the inflow of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants when their countries join the European Union in January.
In a dramatic U-turn that has been attacked as a sop to the anti-immigration lobby, John Reid, the home secretary, will unveil plans to prevent thousands of people from Romania and Bulgaria coming to Britain to work.
Source:- Observer, Sunday 22 October 2006, page 1

Cameron attacks ‘Cool Britannia’ as ageist
David Cameron is to accuse Tony Blair of encouraging ageism with his ‘Cool Britannia’ emphasis on youth and modernity, in an audacious grab by the Tory leader for the ‘grey vote’ of millions of ageing Britons.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 22 October 2006, page 7

‘Supervised’ criminals continue crime wave
Criminals who are spared prison and given community punishment under the supervision of probation officers commit more than 6,000 offences a month, Home Office research has revealed.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 22 October 2006, page 2

Reid accused of burying bad news on asylum and jails
More than 1,000 illegal immigrants are caught after they have smuggled themselves into Britain every month, Home Office figures have revealed. The figures emerged in a raft of controversial documents published by the Home Office last week, which prompted allegations that ministers were seeking to “bury bad news” by putting out so much information at once.
The department quietly released 37 papers on its website in just five days after they were requested under the Freedom of Information Act, more than it had released in the previous two months.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 22 October 2006, page 12

Women in UK are worst binge drinkers in world
Women in England and Ireland are officially the world’s biggest binge drinkers, according to a unique study of global alcohol consumption.
Source:- Independent on Sunday, 22 October 2006, page 1

Most people not happy with local council, poll finds
Ministers will today publish a poll showing most people are unhappy with their council, paving the way for a shake-up of local government this week.
The survey, which also found two-thirds of authorities did not believe they could influence decisions in the areas, comes ahead of a white paper on local government, which promises new powers for residents to take action when they are dissatisfied with services.
Source:- The Financial Times, Monday 23 October, page 2

Deprived ‘should get university places with low grades’
University admissions tutors should set lower entry requirements for looked-after children, disabled children and young carers, to take account of their disadvantages, a government-commissioned report has said.
The study from Leeds University follows the release figuers showing a decline in students from low-income backgrounds at university.
Source:- The Times, Monday 23 October 2006, page 6

Parents fly in African village elders to circumcise their young daughters
Hundreds of young girls are suffering genital mutilation at the hands of African women paid by their families to come to Britain.
Police believe the practice has developed among parents who do not have passports and cannot return to their countries of origin to have their daughters circumcised.
Source:- The Times, Monday 23 October 2006, page 7

NHS trusts given data in bid for £2.2bn efficiency savings
The government has sent all NHS trusts detailed information on relative productivity rates around the country in a bid to save £2.2bn.
Ministers want the least productive trusts and localities to improve on areas such as length of stays in hospital and unnecessary admissions.
Source:- The Financial Times, Monday 23 October, page 2

Scottish news

Binge drink crisis hits young workers
Scotland’s spiralling binge drinking culture has led to a big rise in young professionals seeking urgent help for alcohol addiction, say crisis services.
Doctors have warned the traditional drinking culture endemic in heavy industries has now been adopted by twenty- and thirty-somethings working in highly pressured jobs in sectors such as finance and marketing.
Their worries were backed up by figures from Alcoholics Anonymous seen by Scotland on Sunday which reveal 18 new groups have been set up across Scotland in the past year to meet growing demand for help from young people.
Source:- The Scotsman, Monday 23 October 2006

Welsh news

Carers to have say on social services crisis
Carers and volunteers are being invited to give their views on the impact of financial cuts to social services in the Vale of Glamorgan. The council has announced the cuts as a package of measures to deal with a £5.5m overspend on social services in this financial year.
Source:- South Wales Echo, Saturday, October 21 2006

Jury takes just 90 minutes to clear councillor of sex assault
A councillor was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a female resident he was helping to find new accommodation at Cardiff crown court yesterday. Idris Jones, 77, a Rhondda Cynon Taf councilor, had denied the allegation by the 28-year-old woman.
Source:- Western Mail, Saturday October 21 2006

We’ll eliminate child poverty scourge’
Child poverty continues to affect more than a quarter of children in Wales according to new figures our today. The policy document, Eradicating Child Poverty in Wales: Measuring Success, is to be launched at the National Assembly today.
Source:- Western Mail, Monday October 23 2006

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