Assisted dying; care levy; asylum hunger strike; broken Britain

Hunger strike at detention centre

Yarl’s Wood, the Bedfordshire detention centre blighted by controversy since its opening in 2001, was in chaos yesterday after police were called to a disturbance involving around 50 women detainees on their fourth day of a hunger strike.

The group were protesting against the treatment of foreign nationals at the detention centre. According to sources, 26 women entered a secure corridor where they stayed for much of the afternoon. Two detainees fainted and a window was said to have been smashed.

Read more on this story in The Independent

Elderly are not a burden, says Brown

Britain should stop viewing older people as a burden on society, Gordon Brown urged yesterday in a significant pre-election speech.

The Prime Minister said treating the over-65s well was the hallmark of a civilised country – and that the soaring number of pensioners was an opportunity rather than a threat.

Read more on this story in The Daily Mail

We’re living in broken Britain, say most voters

Voters are deeply pessimistic about the state of Britain today, believing that society is broken and heading in the wrong direction, a Populus poll for The Times has found.

Nearly three fifths of voters say that they hardly recognise the country they are living in, while 42 per cent say they would emigrate if they could.

Read more on this story in The Times

Margo MacDonald’s Bill ‘would encourage suicide tourism to Scotland’

Margo MacDonald’s assisted suicide Bill is “morally ambiguous” and would encourage suicide tourism to Scotland if it became law, a leading right-to-die campaigner has warned.

Edward Turner, of Dignity in Dying, said that the proposed law also risked changing society’s views of the disabled. Mr Turner, who travelled to the Swiss clinic Dignitas with his dying mother four years ago to allow her to end her life, said that Ms MacDonald’s inclusion of people who had been physically incapacitated raised troubling questions about the value of the lives of the disabled.

Read more on this story in The Times

Asylum failings damage lives, says immigration watchdog

The UK Border Agency’s failure to manage its workload is penalising individuals, draining public funds and jeopardising confidence in the asylum and immigration system, according to a report published today.

The report, by the parliamentary ombudsman, finds that the UKBA still has “a long way to go” to ensure that its administration, complaints handling procedures and remedy mechanisms are adequate.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Benefit informers could be given share of cash saved

People who inform on benefit cheats could be given a share of the resulting savings to the state under proposals being examined by Labour’s manifesto team.

The idea has been put to Ed Miliband, Labour’s manifesto co-ordinator, by Jim Murphy, the Scottish secretary, as a way of making life harder for benefit cheats.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Inheritance levy to fund social care being considered by ministers

Radical proposals for a £20,000 compulsory inheritance levy to help pay for Gordon Brown’s social care plans may be endorsed by the government before the general election.

The health secretary, Andy Burnham, believes he may get the backing for a compulsory plan from Downing Street, but influential cabinet members are still agonising over whether to be explicit about it on the eve of the poll.

Read more on this story in The Guardian


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