Loan sharks; Tories want more disabled MPs; family spending falls

Loan sharks target poorest households with 825% APR loans
Thousands of households have taken out loans with interest rates averaging 825% during “the worst Christmas in a generation” for illegal doorstep lending, according to a new report. The Real Cost of Christmas, commissioned by affordable housing provider Circle Anglia and written by the Financial Inclusion Centre, found that more than 100,000 of the UK’s poorest families will spend 2010 crippled with a combined debt of around £82m after borrowing money from loan sharks to pay for Christmas.

Read more on this article in The Guardian

Tories plan £1m fund to help disabled people become MPs
A £1m fund to help people with disabilities become MPs is being planned under Conservative moves to make parliament more inclusive. The money would pay for transport and support costs to break down the barriers facing disabled people who want to work as MPs, local councillors or civil servants.

Read more on this article in The Guardian

Family spending falls to its lowest level for ten years
Families have less to spend than at any time over the past ten years, an official analysis revealed yesterday.
It found that an average household paid £471 a week for everything from the cost of housing to buying lottery tickets in 2008, the lowest spending per home since 1999.

Read more on this article in The Daily Mail

Private hospitals cash for Conservative health spokesman
The Conservative health team is being funded by the wife of the chairman of one of Britain’s largest private hospital companies. Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, received £21,000 in November from Caroline Nash, wife of John Nash, the chairman of Care UK, according to official registers. Mrs Nash works with her husband running a charity to help the underprivileged young. The charity also sponsors an academy school in Pimlico, Central London.

Read more on this article in The Times

Frances Inglis: I killed my brain damaged son with love in my heart
A mother who gave her brain-damaged son a lethal heroin injection to end his suffering told a jury yesterday: “I did it with love in my heart.” Frances Inglis told the Old Bailey she had had “no choice” but to give 22-year-old Tom a fatal overdose. He had been left in what his mother described as a “living hell” after suffering serious head injuries when he fell out of an ambulance in July 2007.

Read more on this article in The Times

Target class as well as race, says minister
Tackling discrimination and inequality must take account of the importance of social class in holding people back rather than simply concentrating on race, Communities Secretary John Denham said today. Launching a new Government document on race inequalities, Mr Denham said Britain had changed “immeasurably for the better” over the past decade and that a new “more nuanced” approach to the issue was now needed.

Read more on this article in The Independent

Eye test could diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease
British researchers have developed a technique that highlights nerve cell damage in the retina of the eye which they have proved correlates exactly to nerve cell damage in the brain. They say the quick, noninvasive and cheap test, which only involves applying eye-drops and then taking a photo with an infra-red camera, could revolutionise detection of dementia. Once diagnosed, treatment could begin immediately.

Read more on this article in The Daily Telegraph

Millions set for council tax increase as black hole in local government pensions hits £60billion

Millions face higher council tax and cuts in services because the black hole in local government pensions has soared to £60billion. Figures obtained under freedom of information show councils’ pension deficits have nearly trebled thanks to the recession.

Read more on this article in The Daily Mail

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