Labour targets single parents

By Mithran Samuel, Amy Taylor and Derren Hayes

Labour targets single parents
The government is set to announce plans to get 300,000 single parents off benefits and into work by changing the benefit system next week.
The welfare reform plans are set to be unveiled on Monday and will include a tougher system of work focused interviews for the group.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph, Saturday 3 March 2007, page 2

Couple cleared of killing adopted son with salt overdose
A couple who were imprisoned for killing their adopted son by poisoning him with salt were cleared of the charge yesterday.
Ian and Angela Gay suffered 15 months in prison but they were acquitted of manslaughter and cruelty to three-year-old Christian Blewitt after a retrial.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 3 March 2007, page 9

Postnatal depression drives mother to murder two sons
A mother has murdered her two young sons and hanged herself due to postnatal depression.
Richard Talby found the bodies of his wife Susan and their sons Joseph, 4, and Paul, 2, when he returned to their home in Peterborough on Thursday evening after a business trip.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 3 March 2007, page 14

Parents plan to challenge school admissions
Thousand of parents are planning to mount challenges due to their children failing to get into their first choice of state secondary school.
Nearly half of children in some local authorities did not get a place in their desired school.
Source:- The Times, Saturday 3 March 2007, page 12

Second council adopts lottery scheme to decide school places
A second council had decided to use a lottery scheme to allocate places to popular schools in its area.
Hertfordshire Council is set to use a “lucky draw” system in its seven oversubscribed schools. Brighton and Hove Council announced plans for a similar system for all of its secondary schools last week.
Source:- The Independent, Saturday 3 March 2007, page 4

Ministers to fund anorexia research
The Department of Health will launch a £2 million research project next week into the funding of anorexia amid rising concerns about the impact of the problem.
The research will be carried out by the London Institute of Psychiatry.
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph Sunday 4 March 2007 page 12
Jobless single parents to face benefit cuts
The government will announce this week that single parents will be expected to look for work when their youngest children reach 12, not 16 as at present.
The well-trailed measure will be part of a shake-up of welfare policy including providing bounties to private companies for keeping former benefit claimants in work for at least three years.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 4 March 2007 page 4
Sick, suicidal and locked-up in jail
A government-commissioned review will conclude there are too many vulnerable women in jail, and that far fewer should be incarcerated.
Baroness Jean Corston’s review, triggered by the deaths of six female inmates at Styal prison in Cheshire, is due out in the next few days. 
It will highlight the circumstances that lead many women into jail, including mental health problems, experience of the care system and substance misuse.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 4 March 2007 page 16
Parents face school entry quota barrier
Many schools look set to introduce a banding system to allocate places to ensure they have a more balanced social and academic mix, experts predict.
The system involves allocating places across the academic ability range, rather than on catchment area, and comes as the government plans to publish details on schools’ social mix for the first time.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 4 March 2007 page 18
Blair U-turn over forced marriages
The government is to back a private member’s bill designed to make forced marriage a civil wrong in law, having previously said that it would not.
Prime minister Tony Blair said it had taken advice that Lord Lester’s bill, which does not criminalise forced marriage but provides redress against it, provided a sensible way of tackling the problem.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 4 March 2007 page 20
‘Psychiatric Asbos’ will fail, say mental health experts
An unpublished government-commissioned report has found that community treatment orders, which are proposed in the Mental Health Bill, will not work and could deter people from seeking help.
The orders, which would impose conditions on people receiving treatment outside hospital, are a key sticking point between the government and opponents of the bill.
Source:- The Independent on Sunday Sunday 4 March 2007 page18
Action teams to be doubled
Home secretary John Reid will announce that the number of specialist action teams to tackle domestic violence will increase from 40 to 100.
Source:- The Independent on Sunday Sunday 4 March 2007 page 23
Is Britain splitting up over marriage?
The recent debate on marriage has revealed a political divide between the two main parties, with the Conservatives favouring incentives for marriage and Labour opting for providing family support regardless of the type of family.
Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 4 March 2007 page 12-13

Uneducated in despair spiral, says Johnson
The younger a person leaves school the greater the chance they will use drugs, become engaged in prostitution, end up in prison or become homeless, education secretary Alan Johnson will say tomorrow.
Johnson will use the speech to make the case for increasing the school leaving age from 16 to 18.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 5 March 2007 page 7

Poor families face £1,000 a year ‘poverty premium’, say charities
Poor families have to pay on average £1,000 a year extra for basic goods, such as utilities or banking, than the rest of the population, a report today finds.
The study, by Save the Children and the Family Welfare Association, reveals the extent of a “poverty premium” levied on low-income households as a result of pre-payment utility meters and high-interest credit, among others.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 5 March 2007 page 11

Blame culture ‘adds to family problems’
Parents are not seeking help for their problems due to a “blame culture” initiated by government policies, such as compulsory parenting classes and fining parents for their children’s antisocial behaviour, a report today argues.
The Policy Research Bureau report said parents are feeling increasingly judged and argued that support was a better option that criticism for tackling social problems.
Source:- The Times Monday 5 March 2007 page 26

Concern at ‘privatisation’ of job schemes
A government-commissioned review will today call for a vastly increased role for the private and voluntary sectors in getting unemployed people into work.
The report, by David Freud, will call for the hardest to help groups to receive support from specialist contractors, who will receive rewards for getting them back into work.
Source:- The Financial Times Monday 5 March 2007 page 2

Social workers destroyed our family and tore our lives apart
A couple cleared of the manslaughter of a three-year-old boy they were due to adopt son last week have spoken of their anger at their treatment by social services.
Ian and Angela Gay were cleared of killing three-year-old Christian Blewitt, having originally been convicted of his manslaughter.
Source:- Daily Mail Monday 5 March 2007 page 11

Air-con on the NHS
The government is due to publish proposals tomorrow designed to shift health care towards prevention through enabling GPs to prescribe anger management courses for teenagers and swimming lessons for obese people.
Source:- Daily Mail Monday 5 March 2007 page 20

Scottish news

Raising awareness of self-harm is essential
Mental health campaigners are keen to raise awareness of self-harm in the hope that greater understanding of the subject will encourage more people to come forward for help.
Dyane Dewar, from Edinburgh, knows only too well about the pressures that lead to self-harm. At her worst, the 23-year-old was cutting herself 100 times a day.
Source:- The Scotsman, Saturday 3 March

Scandal of child heroin dealers
Child dealers of heroin, cocaine and other banned substances are being arrested at the rate of one every four days, figures from all eight Scottish police forces show.
More than 300 children – some as young as 10 – have been charged with supplying in the past three years and a total of 20kgs of drugs have been seized by police.
Scotland’s most senior drug enforcement officer said celebrities must shoulder some of the blame for drug abuse among the nation’s children.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday, 4 March

Care homes urged to tackle ‘dementia time bomb’
The Scottish Care Commission has warned that nursing homes for the older people are failing to deliver specialist dementia services, amid concerns about the UK’s “demographic time bomb”.
Liz Norton, director of adult services regulation in care homes for the Care Commission, said staff are not adequately prepared to support current dementia sufferers, let alone deal with the predicted influx of new patients.
She said: “There are not sufficient specialist services for people with dementia and there needs to be much more activity in that area. The elderly population is going to grow exponentially and we need to prepare for that.”
Source:- Sunday Herald, 4 March

Jamieson warns councils as youth crime goes up again
Persistent young offenders in Scotland have risen to another record high.
Figures released showed a six per cent rise the number of children classed among the country’s most troubled to 1,177 in the last nine months of 2006.
Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson responded by announcing a nationwide inspection of the way council youth justice services handle the most persistent and serious offenders aged between 14 and 18.
Source:- The Herald, Monday 5 March

Welsh news

Disabled workers protest factory closures
Hundreds of disabled protesters were set to carry out a demonstration as part of a campaign to prevent the closure of factories where they work.
The workers will march through Cardiff to draw attention to a government review of the future of Remploy factories which provide supported employment to disabled people.
Source:- icWales Saturday 3 March 2007

Paedophile’s sentence a ‘betrayal’
A children’s charity has criticised a two-year jail sentence given out to a paedophile who groomed a 14-year-old at Caernarafon Crown Court.
Gary Sutchings, 54, pretended to be a girl called Sophie to gain the girl’s trust. He then admitted to being a man and got her to send him topless photos of herself.
Claude Knights of children’s charity Kidscape said that the sentence was a “betrayal”.
Source:-Wales on Sunday, 4 March 2007

Kids’ booze timebomb
Welsh children as young as 11-years-old are in danger of becoming alcoholics, a Wales on Sunday investigation has found.
The investigation found that an increasing number of children under the age of 18 are being treated in A&E hospital wards for alcohol abuse.
Source:- Wales on Sunday, 4 March 2007

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