News round up: Labour smacking laws could be ‘unworkable’

Labour’s smacking laws could be ‘unworkable’

Senior judges want parents who are taken to court for smacking their children to be treated leniently. A mother or father who does not intend to hurt their child should get only light sentences, new advice for the courts is expected to say.

The recommendations could make Labour’s laws on smacking effectively unworkable. The rules are to be published today by the Sentencing Guidelines Council.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Call for alcohol ban in supermarkets

Supermarkets should be banned from selling alcohol to combat Britain’s binge-drinking culture, says a health adviser to the Government.

Professor Julian le Grand, the chairman of Health England, said customers should be made to make a conscious decision to buy drink by going into a different shop instead of being “lured” into buying alcohol during their weekly grocery shop.

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Climbdown on plans for flexible working

Ministers were accused of a climbdown on extending rights on flexible working yesterday to appease business leaders.

Three months ago, ministers announced a review of the present situation in which parents with a child under the age of six – as well as people caring for disabled relatives – are entitled to request working hours to suit their family arrangements.
Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Anger at gap between rich and poor – ICM poll

A sharp drop in economic confidence is hitting poorest people hardest, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today.

The poll also shows support for maintaining public spending rather than cutting taxes, while 75% felt the gap between rich and poor was too great, the largest figure ever in an ICM poll.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Suspected suicides in Bridgend

Jenna Parry’s death brings to 17 the toll of suspected suicides among young people in the Bridgend area since January 2007. All but one died by apparent hanging.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Study links infants’ diet in first weeks to adult IQ

Early nutrition has been shown to have a long-term effect on a baby’s developing brain in a study which found that pre-term infants fed enriched milk in their early weeks had a higher IQ in adulthood.

Researchers say the study, published today in the US journal Pediatric Research, is one of the first to show that the development of the brain can be influenced by early nutrition.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

£20m to care for dying children

A £20m grant to improve services for dying children in England was approved by the government yesterday after parents complained about gaps in support from social services and the NHS. The care services minister, Ivan Lewis, said the money will help about 20,000 children with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses to get appropriate care in hospices or at home.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Long-term jobless will be forced to work for benefits under new plan

The long-term jobless will be forced to work for their benefits under a get-tough plan to be unveiled today. Anyone unemployed for two years or more will have to do a work-experience placement permanently or see their payouts axed.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mirror

Migrants to pay ‘entry tax’ and learn English before winning British passport

Immigrants will be be expected to pay an ‘entry’ tax and learn English before they can ‘earn’ a British passport, Labour is to announce today.

The special ‘entry tax’, which they will have to pay upon entering the country, will be used to provide extra funding for public services.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

Johnson tackles ‘sick note culture’

The Health Secretary Alan Johnson will set out plans today to change Britain’s “sick note culture” into a “well note culture”.

In a speech at the British Heart Foundation, Mr Johnson will say: “Firstly, employers should take steps to promote health and well-being in the workplace. Secondly, government must work with employers to improve how it identifies potential health risks – in particular around stress and mental health – and address these risks.

“Thirdly, government must do more to help those who able to work, but have been prevented from doing so by health reasons, to get back into the workplace.”

Read more on this story in The Independent

Childminders face huge rise in Ofsted fee

Childminders face being driven out of business by a sevenfold increase in registration fees, children’s charities and industry leaders warn the Government today in a letter to The Times.

Ofsted intends to impose a sharp rise in annual charges for nurseries and other daycare providers, which must be registered with the regulator. Among the hardest hit will be childminders, who care for more than a quarter of a million children.

Their registration fees are expected to rise in September from £15 to £103.

Read more on this story in The Times


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