News round up: Labour: free nursery places to help parents

Free nursery for two-year-olds will help parents climb ladder, says Labour

The Government promised yesterday to provide free nursery places for all two-year-olds, although experts predicted that achieving the objective could take ten years.

Gordon Brown revealed that a major expansion of childcare would form part of his speech to the Labour conference in Manchester tomorrow. He will say that he wants free nursery places, pre-school help or childcare for all 600,000 two-year-olds at a cost of more than £1 billion.

Read more on this story in The Times

Jail rates for under-14s among Europe’s highest

More children aged between 10 and 14 are being locked up in England and Wales – increasingly for more minor offences – than in any western European country, the charity Barnardo’s warns today.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Headteacher warns ministers SATs tests ‘strain mental health of 7-year-olds’

SATs tests are fuelling a rise in mental health problems among children as young as seven, ministers are warned today.

The regime of national tests for seven, 11 and 14-year-olds is causing many to suffer extreme anxiety, frequent crying and nightmares, according to an independent schools leader.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

Mental health patient accused of stabbing woman 17 times

A man accused of stabbing a young woman about 17 times in a random attack at a seaside supermarket is a mental health patient, it emerged yesterday.

Samuel Reid-Wentworth, 21, was remanded in custody after being charged with the attempted murder of Lucy Yates at the Somerfield store in Littlehampton, West Sussex.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Loopholes in £1bn insulation plan mean millions struggling with ‘fuel poverty’ will lose out

Millions of British families facing fuel poverty this winter will not qualify for free insulation under a £1 billion energy efficiency scheme announced by the Government last week.

Rising fuel prices mean that 5.4 million households are having to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on energy — putting them in so-called fuel poverty. The Government said last week that up to 11 million low-income households would qualify for free insulation under the scheme, but industry insiders have told The Times that this figure is highly misleading.

Read more on this story in The Times

 GMC revokes ban on shamed paediatrician

The paediatrician who accused the husband of the late solicitor Sally Clark of murdering their two children is to be allowed to return to child protection work.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Crime cut in age-restriction test scheme

A project in Stenhousemuir, central Scotland limiting the sale of alcohol in off-licences to over 21-year-olds has seen calls to police about anti-social behaviour fall by 40%.

Read more on this story in The Financial Times

Pensioners lose hundreds of millions in benefit rule change

Pensioners are going to miss out on hundreds of millions of pounds of benefits owed to them under a government move to cut the time they get to claim tax credits.

In a move that could trigger another backbench revolt against Gordon Brown, ministers have abolished the 12-month period in which the pensioners can claim backdated pension tax credits and imposed a new limit of three months. 

Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

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