Care cuts mean fewer old folk are being helped to live at home

By Josephine Hocking, Amy Taylor and Derren Hayes

Care cuts mean fewer old folk are being helped to live at home
Thousands of older people are no longer receiving the help they need to stay at home, according to figures from the National Patient Survey.

It shows the number of older people receiving home care decreased from 493,000 in 2003-4 to 489,000 in 2005-6. Those receiving meals-on-wheels declined from 186,000 to 155,000 over the same period, says the survey published yesterday by the Department of Health.

Source:- Daily Mail, Saturday 16 September 2006, page 21

Child protection laws lead to ban on Father Christmas
Schools, charities and churches are so terrified of child protection laws that they are banning Father Christmas altogether.

Even Tim Loughton, the Conservative Party children’s spokesperson, was banned from dressing up as an elf for charity because he had not been screened by the Criminal Records Bureau.

Source:- Daily Telegraph, Saturday 16 December 2006, page 7

Private nurseries count cost of early-years scheme
Hard-pressed private nurseries are coming under further pressure from a government free-childcare scheme which many say could put them out of business.

Nurseries, which already have to compete with state-funded Sure Start centres, say they are losing money by participating in the government’s early-years entitlement that gives parents 12.5 hours of free early education for 38 weeks a year.

Guidance issued earlier this year by the government stops private providers from charging extra fees to cover the difference between the value of the subsidy and the cost of delivering the sessions to children.

According to a survey by the National Day Nurseries Association, a charity representing day nurseries, 69 per cent of members said the problem posed a grave threat to their sustainability.

Source:- Financial Times, Saturday 16 September 2006, page 4

Labour backs down in privacy row over patients’ records
Ministers will bow to privacy concerns about a new NHS computer system and concede patients should be allowed to prevent their medical information from going on a national database.

Health minister Lord Warner is expected to announce a plan that would allow people to review and correct their records and withhold them from the database, known as The Spine, if they choose.

Source:- Daily Telegraph, Saturday 16 December 2006, page 8

Minister warns ‘can work, won’t work’ Britons over benefits
Work-shy Britons are in danger of losing out to a new wave of industrious eastern European immigrants over jobs, John Hutton, the work and pensions secretary will warn this week as he launches a controversial review of benefits.

Source:- The Observer, Sunday 17 December 2006, page 3

Abductors and stalkers to go on sex register
Convicted stalkers will be put on the sex offenders’ register and child abductors will also be registered for the first time.
John Reid, the home secretary, will lay regulations in parliament this week to amend legislation covering the register, which already holds around 30,000 names nationwide.

Source:- The Observer, Sunday 17 December 2006, page 10

Catholic church in new sex abuse row
The Catholic church faces fresh allegations of turning a blind eye to paedophilia after an Observer investigation revealed that one of its priests was allowed to continue working despite warnings he posed a danger to children.

Source:- The Observer, Sunday 17 December 2006, page 11

Children ‘put at risk’ after nurseries are allowed to operate without inspections
Nurseries will be able to operate for up to 10 years without being inspected under government plans to cut red tape and reduce costs.

The Department for Education and Skills is ready to waive the requirement for creches or other establishments looking after children of up to six or seven to be inspected before being put on the national childcare register. Checks by Ofsted are also to be cut back.

Source:- The Observer, Sunday 17 December 2006, page 17

Good schools made into academies ‘to ensure Blair legacy’
Dozens of good schools are to be converted into city academies despite government claims that the initiative is aimed at failing schools.

Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 17 December 2006, page 8

Prince’s Trust goes global in drive to help poorest areas
The Prince of Wales is to expand his Prince’s Trust charity so that it operates globally.

Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 17 December 2006, page 13

Threat to stop jobless benefits for ‘can work, won’t work’ refuseniks
The hardcore unemployed who refuse to work despite having opportunities could lose their benefits under a welfare review.
Work and pensions secretary John Hutton will target 10,000 people who have spent six of the last seven years on benefit. He says that there are 600,000 vacancies across Britain yet areas where employment rates are low tend to have more vacancies.

Source:- The Times, Monday December 18 2006, page 2

£400m cost of couples who pretend to be lone parents
Couples who claim they are living apart so they can claim bigger benefits cost the taxpayer more then £400 million a year, according to figures from the HM Customs and Revenue.

A total of £305 million was paid in tax credits to people who claimed to be single. Another £106 million of other benefits, including Income Support, was paid to people who said they were living apart.

Source: The Daily Telegraph,  Monday 18 December 2006, page 1

Corruption inquiry into asylum bias
The Home Office is looking into allegations that a representative of Uganda’s ruling party got a job in the immigration service to block asylum applications from political opponents.

John Guma-Komwiswa has been suspended from his post as a senior case worker.

Source:- The Guardian, Monday 18 December 2006, page 1

Briton denies snatching baby from 15-year-old Romanian mother
A British woman accused of taking a seven-month-old girl from a teenage Romanian Gypsy in Athens appeared in court yesterday.

Marie Golby, 41, denied the charges and says the girl abandoned the baby.

Source:- The Guardian, Monday 18 December 2006, page 3

Scottish news

Cold turkey plan for Scots addicts

The biggest shake-up of drugs policy for 20 years is to be pushed through by Labour in a bid to get Scotland’s 50,000 addicts off heroin and other deadly substances.

Drug users will be urged to ditch methadone in favour of “cold turkey” at addiction treatment centres, under the party’s Holyrood election plans.

In a dramatic policy U-turn, senior Labour figures are convinced addicts should be pressured to get themselves clean, and out of the cycle of drug abuse and crime that blights countless lives.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday, 17 December 

Glasgow focus for benefits crackdown
John Hutton, Work and Pensions Secretary, is to launch the government’s crackdown against benefits cheats in Glasgow this week.

He will say there is a “hard core” of benefit claimants who are failing to compete for jobs with the growing numbers of migrant workers, many from eastern Europe.

He will insist that “opportunities are out there” for people who want to work and will unveil a wide-ranging review of the government’s welfare to work strategy to find ways of encouraging them to do so.

Source:- The Herald, Monday 18 December  

Welsh news

Poverty is pushing a B&B Xmas

Two hundred families in Wales will be living in bed and breakfast accommodation over Christmas, according to homeless charity Shelter Cymru.

The charity announced the findings on the 40th anniversary of the broadcast of the homeless drama Cathy Come Home.
Source:- Wales on Sunday, 17 December 2006

Polish children put squeeze on schools
Migrant workers may be putting pressure on schools with more than 100 foreign pupils enrolling in one Welsh county since April, it was alleged yesterday.

The issue was raised at a meeting of council bosses in Cardiff. Officials said the pressure on schools services was as a result of families and other individuals from Poland and other countries coming to Wales to work.

Source:- Western Mail, 16 December 2006


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