400 go bust every day as pressure of debt hits home

By Mithran Samuel, Derren Hayes and Amy Taylor

400 go bust every day as pressure of debt hits home
Nearly 400 people a day became insolvent last year, an increase of 59 per cent on 2005, government figures show.
Over 107,000 people either declared themselves bankrupt or took out individual voluntary agreements, in which debts are cleared over five years, in 2006.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 3 February 2007 page 10

Nice faces inquiry by Commons group
The Commons health select committee will conduct an inquiry into the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the wake of recent challenges to its decisions.
Controversies include Nice’s decision to restrict the use of three Alzheimer’s drugs, which was opposed by campaigners in the field.
Source:- Financial Times Saturday 3 February 2007 page 4
Judge lets paedophile go free and says: buy a bike to cheer up victim
A judge has refused to jail a convicted paedophile for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old child, saying he would be more likely to receive treatment in the community.
Judge Julian Hall gave Eric Cole a sexual offences prevention order, which requires him to attend a sexual offenders’ programme, and told him to pay his latest victim £250 in compensation, saying this might buy her a new bike to “cheer her up”.
Source:- The Times Saturday 3 February 2007 page 5
Anorexia victims left to starve in ‘twilight zone’, claim campaigners
The government does not know how many people suffer from eating disorders meaning the problem receives insufficient attention, campaigners say.
The Eating Disorders Association, which relaunches this week as beat, said it was turned down 18 months ago for Medical Research Council funding to find out how many people suffered from eating disorders, and it was impossible to plan services without such information.
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph Sunday 4 February 2007 page 12
Voluntary adoption agencies face closure as councils seek savings
Councils are cutting their use of voluntary adoption agencies to cut costs, it has emerged, meaning some agencies are facing closure.
The Department for Education and Skills is planning to bring councils and agencies together to sort out the problem, after agencies complained that some may not survive cuts in council referrals.
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph Sunday 4 February 2007 page 12
Children film sex on their mobiles
Child protection agencies have raised concerns over children sending each other images of their peers having sex on their mobile phones.
The NSPCC has begun an assessment with Cork University to uncover the scale of the problem.
Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 4 February 2007 page 9
Fury at new child abuse case
The sentencing of a couple for torturing their four-year-old daughter this week will raise questions over the role of Westminster social services.
An independent review of the case of Kimberley Harte and Samuel Duncan has revealed that social workers allowed their daughter to return home despite the strong objections of her foster carers, and too readily accepted her injuries as accidents.
The report said what happened could not have been attributed to professional errors or poor practice, though the outcome could have been different had more attention been given to Duncan’s relationship with his daughter.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 4 February 2007 page 5

MPs voice health bill concerns
Vulnerable people who pose no risk to themselves or others could be sectioned under the government’s Mental Health Bill, peers and MPs have warned.
In a report the joint committee on human rights said the broad definition of mental illness under the bill could capture people with various sexual disorders and cause discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The committee is meeting health minister Rosie Winterton on Monday to air their concerns.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 4 February 2007 page 15

Lords set to scupper corporate killing bill

The government is threatening to scrap its Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill if peers pursue their campaign to extend its scope to prisons and police cells, to enable prosecutions over deaths in custody.

Ministers are facing defeat in a Lords debate on the bill today, but are believed to have threatened campaigning peers, who include former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham, that they will pull the bill.

Source:- The Times Monday 5 February 2007 page 23 

Suffering in silence, the lonely youngsters with eating disorders

The vast majority of young people with eating disorders suffer in silence, a survey today reveals.

The study, published by the Eating Disorders Association, finds 92 per cent of young people feel they cannot speak to anyone about their problem, with just 1 per cent feeling they could tell their parents.

The association today re-brands itself as beat (beating eating disorders) to refocus its campaign on tackling the problem rather than highlighting it.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 5 February 2007 page 8

Let GPs perform minor operations, says top doctors

The government’s primary care tsar has called for an increased role for GPs and more services to be shifted out of hospital to improve patient care and efficiency, in a report today.

Dr David Colin-Thomé said GPs would be trusted to take on a wider role and this was also appropriate, given their training.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 5 February 2007 page 9

Another blow for Blair’s legacy as schools shun trust plan

Just one out of every 300 schools has expressed interest in becoming one of the government’s flagship trust schools, it has emerged, despite government ambitions for all to follow this path.

Under the plan, schools form partnerships with outside bodies to form trusts and assume control for their admissions and staffing policies, however in a parliamentary answer, the government revealed that 71 had expressed an interest.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 5 February 2007 page 15

Violence in prisons up 600 per cent

Violence in prisons has risen by 600 per cent since 1996, figures released by the Liberal Democrats yesterday reveal.

In 2005, there were 13,771 attacks compared to 2,342 in 1996, which Lib Dem leader Menzies Campbell blamed on overcrowding and prisons mismanagement.

Source:- Daily Mirror Monday 5 February 2007 page 16

Rapists and paedophiles ‘let off with cautions’

Paedophiles who have admitted sexual activity with children have been let off with cautions, it has emerged.

Figures released under freedom of information reveal 20 cautions were given to child sex offenders in the past five years.

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 5 February 2007 page 9

Scottish news

SNP gives free drugs pledge to long-term patients

A promise to abolish prescription charges for patients with chronic conditions are among policies put forward by the SNP.

The promise would let patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis and other serious illnesses have free drugs.

Many patients have to spend hundreds of pounds a year on life-saving prescriptions, which has been condemned by charities.

Source:- The Scotsman, Saturday 3 February

OAP chair blunder

A wheelchair feared stolen from outside the home of a 77-year-old polio victim was mistakenly taken by a council worker.

Harry Anderson, from Selkirk, made a public appeal for its safe return and police searched the area. But a driver who was meant to pick up a shower seat took his wheelchair instead.

Anderson said: “They gave me a £20 book token to make up, which was nice.”

Source:- Daily Record, Saturday 3 February

Health chiefs accused of blocking new therapy for heroin addicts

Health chiefs are blocking a revolutionary treatment for heroin addicts because of their “obsession” with the replacement drug methadone, experts have claimed.

Officials are refusing to offer the treatment, known as neuro-electric therapy (NET) to Scotland’s 20,000 addicts, claiming they need more proof that it works.

But campaigners say methadone is ruining the lives of thousands of addicts across Scotland, condemning them to modern-day “slavery”.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday, 4 February

Seventh council to halt tenants’ right to buy

Perth & Kinross has became the seventh council to suspend the right to buy (RTB) for its tenants in an effort to preserve its ever-dwindling stock.

Approval from Scottish ministers means the council can now suspend RTB for five years in 21 “pressured areas” where there are an average of five people on the housing waiting list for each vacant council let.

The move will affect around 600 tenants – half of them existing tenants who moved into homes after September 2002, and the others prospective tenants.

Source:- The Herald, Monday 5 February

Child care charity had cash crisis two years ago

A charity which collapsed last month with the loss of 600 jobs was experiencing financial problems at least two years ago after it was confirmed managers were failing to pass on workers’ pension contributions.

Management at child care provider One Plus deducted pension contributions from staff salaries but failed to hand over the money to fund managers.

As the state of the charity’s finances begins to unravel, the union which represented more than one-third of staff has also confirmed that thousands of pounds of subs were also taken off wages for over a year yet not paid.

Source:- The Herald, Monday 5 February

Two-year wait for hearing aids

Adults in a Scottish town are being forced to wait an average of almost two years to get a hearing aid.

The most recent figures show patients living in Elgin, in NHS Grampian region, had to wait an average of 99 weeks from their initial referral to having their hearing aid fitted.

The figures showed that patients in the Elgin area had to wait 46 weeks from their referral before having an assessment and then had to wait a further 53 weeks before their hearing aid was fitted.

Source:- The Scotsman, Monday 5 February

Welsh news

Centre ‘only way’ to solve youth problem

A new youth centre is the only way to stop a crime from taking place on an estate in Bridgend, residents have been told.

Police and councillors argue that the best way to stop young people from committing crime in Cefn Glas, is to give them something else to do.

Source:- South Wales Echo, Saturday, 3 February 2007

Priced out of housing

Homeless charity Shelter Cymru has called for more affordable homes to be built in Wales.

Director John Puzey said that house price inflation meant that 43 per cent of younger working households were unable to afford a home in Wales and over 40, 000 children lived in overcrowded conditions.

Source:- South Wales Echo, Saturday, 3 February 2007



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