Sure Start plan ‘a one billion pound disaster’

Sure Start plan ‘a one billion pound disaster’
Labour’s flagship scheme to help underprivileged children became a financial failure, watchdogs have told Whitehall. The interim verdict was delivered to Whitehall last year by a team of academics employed  by the Education Department. The document was effectively buried by civil servants. A final assessment – supposed to have been completed before last month – has still not emerged.
Source:- Daily Mail, Saturday 24 February 2007, page 9

Chess prodigy ‘told not to have counselling’
A chess prodigy  who died after accusing her father of rape had been advised not to have counselling in the run-up to her trial, her mother told Radio 5 Live. Jessica Gilbert, 19, and her mother, Angela, were told counseling might help the team defending Ian Gilbert. The Crown Prosecution Service said it had simply made Mrs Gilbert aware of the issues that could be raised by the defence.
Source:- The Independent, Saturday 24 February 2007, page 20

Pregnant 14-year-old told to help expectant classmates
A pregnant girl of 14 revealed yesterday that she had been asked by teachers to give advice to four of her school friends who have fallen pregnant this term.
Source:- Daily Telegraph. Saturday 24 February 2007, page 11

‘Hoodie’ needs a role model, says Cameron
The hooded teenager who pretended to shoot David Cameron is one of the youths “going off the rails” who need strong parental role models. During a visit to Bolton Wanderers’ Reebok Stadium yesterday, Mr Cameron referred to the 17-year-old as an example of why children should have someone to look up to.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Saturday 24 February 2007, page 11

Debt spirals
High street banks are preparing to write off an unprecedented £6.6 billion as Britons default on a record amount of personal loans and credit card debt.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 24 February 2007, page  2

Unneighbourly 81-year-old faces jail
An 81-year-old woman dubbed the original neighbour from hell faces jail after being found guilty of six breaches of an Asbo and harassment.
Source:- The  Guardian, Saturday 24 February 2007, page 17

Cheap loans aid for long-term jobless
Hundreds of thousands of long term unemployed could be offered cheap loans to pay off their debts as an incentive to take a job under a radical reform of the welfare system. The proposal is one idea being put forward by David Freud, the investment banker, appointed by Tony Blair and John Hutton, the works and pensions secretary, to come up with fresh thinking to modernise the welfare state. Mr Freud’s proposal will be included in measures including a much larger role for the voluntary and private sectors in delivering welfare to work services .
Source:- The  Guardian, Saturday 24 February 2007, page 17

Doctors call for ban on alcohol adverts
A complete ban on alcohol advertising and sports sponsorship is necessary to curb Britain’s growing drink problems, the Royal College of Physicians said yesterday in response to fresh evidence of “a rising tide” of alcohol-related deaths.
Source:- The  Guardian, Saturday 24 February 2007, page 12

Poll finds parents out of touch
Teenagers drink, smoke, take more drugs and lose their virginity earlier than many of their parents believe, according to the results of a Guardian study.
Source:- The  Guardian, Saturday 24 February 2007, page 1

Cleveland: an ordeal beyond belief
The first victims of the Cleveland child abuse scandal break their silence.
Source:- Source:- Daily Mail, Saturday 24 February 2007, page 11

Fury over sex offender sentence
The family of a child sex abuse victim hit out yesterday after learning that his attacker may be free in four years.Serial paedophile Keith Morris abused the boy, now 15, for two years and threatened to kill him if he told anyone.Morris, 46, was caged indefinitely yesterday – but the judge said he can apply for release in just four years.
Source:- The Sun, Saturday 24 February 2007, page 28

NHS facing dementia time bomb
The number of people suffering from dementia in the UK – now 700,000 – will rise by a million to 1.7m by 2050, creating a crisis in medical and social care. A groundbreaking study, ‘Dementia UK’, to be published this week, will reveal the impact of the disease on the ageing population. It also reveals that carers of those with dementia save the state £6bn a year.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 25 February 2007, page 17

Overweight boy may be taken into care
A severely overweight eight-year-old boy could be taken away from his mother and into care this week in a landmark case that signals growing official intervention on obesity, it was reported last night.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 25 February 2007, page 10

Cameron plans aid for family carers
David Cameron is considering plans for a voucher system to give financial aid directly to the parents of disabled children.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 25 February 2007, page 2

Fresh hope for ‘abuse’ case couple
A judge has questioned the speed with which a family court disposed of proceedings that resulted in the forcible adoption of three children and may lead to a fourth child being taken into care. Speaking at an interim hearing into Mark and Nicky Webster’s  fight to keep eight-month-old baby Brandon last week, Mr Justice Holman expressed bemusement that the case could have been heard in one day. The judge went on to acknowledge that whatever the conclusion in Brandon’s case, the adoption of his three siblings was irreversible.
Source:- Mail on Sunday, 25 February 2007, page 55

RNIB ditches white stick logo
The Royal National Institute for the Blind is dropping its distinctive logo because it says it suggests the charity is only for blind people.
Source:- Mail on Sunday, 25 February 2007, page 13

Row over family values splits Cabinet
Alan Johnson, the education secretary is to rally to the defence of single parents amid a growing cabinet split over whether the government should champion marriage. He will warn that family policy should not be based on ‘the prejudices of yesterday’s generation’ or hung up over whether parents are married or not, but focused on what children ned.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 25 February 2007, page 1

5,000 child sex slaves in UK
More than 5,000 children are being forced to work as sex slaves in the UK, including thousands trafficked to this country by criminal gangs. Astudy of global slavery commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation exposes Britain as a major transit point for the movement of child slaves around the world.
Source:- Independent on Sunday, 25 February  2007, page 1

Labour policy ‘failing our cities’
Labour’s economic and social policies are “failing” all big cities except London and are “leaving behind” the bottom 20 per cent of society, according to Lord Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the Local Government Association.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 25 February 2007, page 8

Blair faces defeat over probation overhaul 
The government is battling to stave off a humiliating defeat in the House of Commons as rebel Labour MPs threaten to defy the whips on controversial plans to overhaul the probation service.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 25 February 2007, page 18

Home Office backs heroin on the NHS in effort to cut crime
Heroin is to be prescribed on the NHS to hard-core drug addicts under secret plans being prepared by the government. GPs’ budgets cut as addicts are funded to wean them off heroin Budgets for family doctors have been cut to buy methadone for heroin addicts in prison. The integrated drug treatment scheme, being piloted in 45 prisons, is likely to be expanded.
Source:- Mail on Sunday, 25 February 2007, page 45

Private schools must take poor pupils or lose £100m
Independent schools are to be forced to provide free or subsidised places for children from poorer backgrounds in return for keeping tax breaks worth £100m a year. The Charity Commission will set out the ground rules for fee-charging schools that want to retain charitable status in a consultation paper to be published on March 7.
Source:- Sunday Times, 25 February 2007, page 7

Mothers face most discrimination
Britain’s new equality chief has warned that mothers face more discrimination in work than any other group, including the disabled and the poorest ethnic minorities. Trevor Phillips, in his first big policy announcement, is expected to propose sweeping “family friendly” laws and practices.
Source:- Sunday Times, 25 February 2007, page 1

Equality body falls foul of its own rules
From April, the Equal Opportunities Commission will tell 40,000 public authorities to employ equal numbers of men and women, or risk court action, under the new gender equality duty
But figures show that only 18 per cent of Equal Opportunities Commission staff are male.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph, 25 February 2007, page 2

Government accused of failing ethnic groups
The government is failing to tackle deep-rooted divisions between ethnic groups in Britain because of a top level approach that ignores what is happening on the ground, said Vicky Torrance, manager of the Community Safety Advisory Service.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 25 February 2007, page 10

Anger as ‘hep C widows’ left out in the cold
Widows whose husbands died after receiving contaminated NHS blood are urging the government to close a loophole which denies them access to financial assistance.
Source:- The Observer, Sunday 25 February 2007, page 26

EastEnder Ethel leaves £200,000 to elderly
Actress Gretchen Franklin, who played pensioner Ethel Skinner in BBC TV soap EastEnders, has left a third of her fortune to Help The Aged. The charity has received more than £200,000 from the star.
Source:- Mail on Sunday, 25 February 2007, page 45

Care of elderly cut to keep councils within budget
Swingeing cuts in elderly care and library and sports services will be made this year as councils struggle to keep tax levels down.
Source:- The Times, Monday 26 February 2007, page 28

Social workers ‘still ignoring straightforward rules that would save children’
Lord Laming is likely to say there are gaps between the aspirations of the government’s Every Child Mattters reforms and reality in terms of child protection in delivering the Victoria Climbie Memorial Lecture this evening.Laming, who headed the Climbie inquiry, will also stress the importance of managerial accountability in for child care services.
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 26 February 2007 page 6

New alarm at lack of vetting for school staff
Council leaders have called upon the government to ensure schools perform criminal records bureau checks on all existing staff, following guidance from the Department for Education and Skills which re-iterated that this was not necessary.
The guidance also says that new recruits are exempt if they move directly from another school, despite promises last year from the DfES to ensure schools carry out CRB checks on all new appointments.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 26 February 2007 page 1

Families targeted to break power of gun gangs
The chief constable of Merseyside has called for families who harbour young men involved in gun crime to be evicted from their homes and moved out of their communities.
Brendan Hogan-Howe said existing local authority powers to evict people should be used on such families “where crime is an inherent way of life”.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Monday 26 February 2007, page 1

Brain booster ‘has potential to treat Down’s syndrome’
The results of a trial on mice of a drug that could alleviate the learning difficulties caused by Down’s syndrome is published today. Researchers from Stanford University are now considering a clinical trial into whether PTZ can be used on humans, after the results showed it significantly improved learning and memory for mice with the syndrome.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Monday 26 February 2007, page 8

Council tax rises to beat inflation for a tenth year
Households are facing another inflation-busting rise in council tax this April for the tenth successive year since Labour took office.
Source:- The Times, Monday 26 February 2007, page 1

Faith schools accused of ‘back-door selection’
A report next month will argue that schools that have control over their admissions are highly unrepresentative of their communities, leading to lower exam performance among neighbouring schools.
The Institute for Public Policy Researcy study will argue that schools should not have control over their admissions process, as this tends to lead to covert selection.
Source:- The Independent, Monday 26 February 2007, page 4

Scottish news

Drugs crisis requires ‘dedicated minister’
Scotland should have a dedicated ministry for drugs and alcohol to confront the country’s growing addiction crisis, according to a leading academic.
Professor Neil McKeganey said the country needed “clear strategic leadership” to reduce the scale of Scotland’s drug problem. Currently, responsibility for tackling addiction is spread between the Scottish executive’s justice, health and education departments.
McKeganey said that such was the scale of the problem, one single minister in charge would be in a better position to give genuine leadership.
Source:- The Scotsman, Saturday 24 February 2007

Executive in secret talks on gay adoption
A deal that would allow Catholic adoption agencies in Scotland to refuse to place children with gay couples is being secretly negotiated between the Scottish executive and Westminster.
Education minister Hugh Henry is in talks with his UK counterparts to allow Catholic adoption agencies north of the border an ‘opt out’ of new legislation which would make it illegal to discriminate against homosexual couples.
Under the compromise, Scotland’s two Catholic adoption agencies would be able to pass inquiries from would-be gay parents on to other organisations.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday, 25 February 2007
‘Abandoned’ parents say they need more support
Scottish parents feel abandoned and would like more advice on how to raise their children, according to a new study.
The Mori poll of more than 1200 parents found two out of five would like more support, and showed that parents are stressed over alcohol and drug abuse, how to exercise discipline, and how to help children achieve in education.
Some 46% of parents polled said the government has “a poor understanding” of the challenges facing parents.
Source:- Sunday Herald, 25 February 2007

Appeal over care home fire verdict
Prosecutors have launched an appeal against a high court judge’s decision to dismiss criminal charges against the owners of a care home where 14 residents died in a fire.
The owners had been due to stand trial over alleged safety breaches at Rosepark care home in Uddingston in January 2004, but at a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Hardie dismissed the charges against the three over a legal technicality.
Fourteen residents died and several others were injured when a fire broke out in a downstairs cupboard at the care home on January 31, 2004.
Source:- The Herald, Monday 26 February 2007

Church ponders gay adoption legal battle
The Catholic Church in Scotland is threatening to take legal action to block new anti-discrimination laws it claims will force faith-based adoption agencies to close down.
The UK government is bringing in new legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against homosexual couples in the provision of any goods or services, including adoption.
The Catholic Church insist this would force them to close agencies as it would be against their religious beliefs to place a child in a gay household.
Source:- The Scotsman, Monday 26 February 2007

Welsh news

Child death mum blasts council
A mother whose husband killed himself and their four sons has accused council chiefs of betraying their children’s memory. Denbighshire Council have put up a bench on the horseshoe pass, near Llangollen, the place where they died, but Samantha Tolley says that she wanted to have her own memorial at the spot.
The boys were killed in a fume-filled car by their dad Keith Young.
Source:- Wales on Sunday, 25 February 2007



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