Battle to halt deportation of girl, 3, puts spotlight on UK asylum policy

    Councils face £2.8bn bill for equal pay

    English councils are facing a £2.8bn bill to ensure equal pay for female staff, research by council organisation Local Government Employers has found.

    It has identified a bill of £1bn for back pay, £1.4bn to meet higher annual pay costs and £400m to protect the wages of men facing pay cuts as a result of the implementation of the so-called single status agreement.

    The figures reveal that 47% of councils have completed pay reviews to establish the extent of discrimination, compared to about 34% a year, despite a deadline of March 2007.

    Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 2 January 2008 page 1, 11

    Overcrowding blamed for 37% rise in suicides among inmates in ‘failing’ prison system

    Penal reform campaigners and the Conservatives last night blamed increased prison overcrowding for a 37% rise in suicides in prison.

    Figures showed there were 92 apparently self-inflicted deaths in prisons in England and Wales in 2007, up from 67 in 2006, though it was lower than the 2004 figure of 95.

    The Howard League for Penal Reform blamed overcrowding while the Prison Reform Trust said too many people with mental health problems were incarcerated.

    Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 2 January 2008 page 4

    Ministers plan more cash to encourage unemployed to train

    Cash rewards for unemployed people who complete back-to-work training are likely to be extended by the government, it has emerged.

    In a speech today, prime minister Gordon Brown will say that the government should concentrate on targeting the most needy, such as lone parents and those on incapacity benefit, rather than looking to reduce the headline unemployment figures.

    Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 2 January 2008 page 8

    Insider Out

    The chief executive of Relate, former civil servant Claire Tyler, has said it must focus its work on more marginalised groups, such as the homeless, substance misusers and asylum seekers, and lobby on family policy as part of a wider coalition.

    Tyler, formerly head of the government’s social exclusion unit, said that she felt many problems around social exclusion could be traced back to family or relationship breakdown.

    She said the breadth and depth of Relate’s work was not largely known and that it was still perceived as an organisation helping couples overcome relationship difficulties.

    Source:- Society  Guardian Wednesday 2 January 2008 page 5

    Patients told: treat yourself to save NHS cash

    Campaign groups have raised concerns about government plans for patients with long-term conditions to take more responsibility for their care, warning that they should not be denied treatment as a result.

    A government document suggests new guidelines may call on people to administer medication, report medical information remotely to doctors and monitor their own heart activity, and says it could save money for the NHS.

    However, the Arthritis Research Campaign said it was “very worrying” that self-care was being mooted as a money-saving measure.

    Source:- The Daily Telegraph Wednesday 2 January 2008 page 1

    Teacher and his wife are arrested over trafficking of prostitutes

    A Canterbury PE teacher and his wife have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in prostitution and illegal immigration.

    Games master Tim Blake-Bowell and his wife Emma were held as part of a long-running inquiry.

    Source: The Daily Mail Wednesday 2 January 2008 page 7

    Battle to halt deportation of girl, 3, puts spotlight on UK asylum policy

    The European Court of Human Rights will consider a test case of a three-year-old girl, who the government are attempting to deport to America where she was born but does not have any family, and are refusing to offer medical treatment for her kidney disorder.  Her mother, a Nigerian citizen, is currently being held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre.

    Source: – The Independent, Wednesday 2 January 2008, page 10

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