Strikes threat after Brown’s pay squeeze

By Mithran Samuel, Amy Taylor and Derren Hayes

Strikes threat after Brown’s pay squeeze

Chancellor Gordon Brown is facing strike threats from public sector unions after announcing the toughest pay settlement since 1997, with over one million workers facing an average 1.9 per cent rise this year, compared to inflation of 4.2 per cent.

Nurses, midwives and other health professionals will receive 1.5 per cent in April and a further 1 per cent in November, and Unison’s head of health, Karen Jennings, warned of possible strikes across the NHS as a result of the “paltry” deal.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 2 March 2007 page 1-2

Dental x-rays for would-be child refugees

More than 3,000 child asylum seekers who arrive in Britain each year will be treated as adults if they refuse “potentially harmful” dental x-rays to determine their age, the Home Office warned yesterday.

Its strategy for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children also included plans to disperse them to 50 or 60 towns in England to relieve pressure on London and the South East.

Children’s commissioner Al Aynsley-Green criticised the plans as a “significant shift” to treating them as suspect immigrants rather than children.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 2 March 2007 page 5

Migrant workers stand to lose their rights

Campaigners have warned that migrant domestic workers will be left open to abuse and exploitation by new rules which will prevent them from getting a new job if they leave their employers due to mistreatment.

The move, which would come into force in the autumn, would affect 17,000 non-European Union migrant workers.

Source:- The Independent Friday 2 March 2007 page 7

Prison staff deny manslaughter by neglect over suicide of inmate

A catalogue of blunders by staff at a privately-run prison led to the preventable suicide of a 23-year-old inmate, a court was told yesterday.

Three officers from HMP Rye Hill, Warwickshire, which is run by Global Solutions Ltd, are standing trial for manslaughter through gross negligence for alleged failings prior to the suicide of Michael Bailey in March 2005.

The trial continues.

Source:- The Times Friday 2 March 2007 page 9

Brown to press on with welfare reforms

The government will unveil fresh proposals on welfare-to-work next week expected to call for a larger role for voluntary and private sector providers and more pressure on benefit recipients to undertake work-focused activities.

Source:- The Financial Times Friday 2 March 2007  page 2

Alzheimer sufferers lost £1/2m drug cash in court fight

More than £500, 000 of public money could be spent in a court battle over the health service’s decision not to give Alzheimer’s sufferers drugs it deems too expensive.

The National Institute for Health Clinical Excellence has decided that the dementia drugs are too expensive.

Alzheimer’s sufferers are now taking them to the High Court over the decision.

Source:- Daily Mail Friday, March 2 2007, page 35

Christian JP can’t opt out of gay adoptions

A Christian magistrate has been told that he will be unable to opt out of hearing child adoption cases if they involve homosexual couples.

An employment tribunal ruled that Andrew McClintock had no right to refuse to hear such cases.

Source:- Daily Mail Friday March 2 2007 page 45

Scottish news

Abuse children left ‘worthless, trapped, numb and ashamed’

More than four children a day in Scotland called a national helpline for advice about sex abuse, according to a new report.

Research into calls to ChildLine Scotland in 2003-04 found that 3,021 concerned sexual abuse, 93 per cent of which related to family members or friends. A fifth of abusers were female.

The average age of callers was 13 years-old, but some calls on sexual abuse were from children as young as nine.

Source:- The Herald, Friday 2 March

Free care: landmark ruling not legally binding

A landmark ruling which brought hope to thousands of older people waiting for free personal care was exposed as utterly toothless.

The Court of Session heard a decision by the public services watchdog was not legally binding, and regardless of whether it was judged to be right or wrong in law it would not end the row about councils operating waiting lists for free personal care.

The issue essentially remains one for councils and ministers to resolve, Lord Macphail was told.

Source:- The Herald, Friday 2 March

One in four people in deprived areas struck down by depression

Nearly a quarter of residents in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities turned to their GP with depression in a year, according to a survey.

Gang activity and rowdy behaviour are worse problems than studies have previously shown. These are among the first findings of a survey of more than 6,000 people in Glasgow, the largest project of its kind in Europe.

The pioneering initiative, which is tracking the lives of families living in 14 areas of the city over 10 years, is part of the drive to improve entrenched health problems and help Scotland lose its reputation as the “sick man of Europe”.

Source:- The Herald, Friday 2 March

Welsh news

Jury out again in toddler salt trial

The second day of a trial of a married couple accused of poisoning a toddler they hoped to adopt with salt will take place today.

Ian and Angela Gay are accused of killing three-year-old Christian Blewitt. Ian and Angela, who is originally from Merthyr Tydfil, deny one charge of manslaughter and one of cruelty.

Source:- icWales, Friday, March 2 2007

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