A Manchester teenager has run up a bill of almost £1,000 on his contract mobile phone. Julie Muller, the mother of 14-year-old Luke Armstrong, from Oldham, was left stunned after receiving a bill of £912 for phone calls made in one month. Ms. Muller, who claims to have forgiven her son, is urging mobile phone companies to put limits on accounts to prevent other parents from facing the same problems.
Millions of families must save for 30 years or greater to raise the money required to put a deposit on a house, a new study has revealed. The report has highlighted the impact of high house prices and the request for considerable deposits on cash-strapped UK families.
Consumers in Northern Ireland have been told by the Trading Standards Service to be aware of retail frauds this Christmas. The organisation has claimed that retail frauds cost shoppers in Northern Ireland around £100 million per annum. Frauds include fake financing companies offering fast online loans and emails from fraudsters who claim to have suffered financial hardship and hence require funds.
Scottish ministers have be forced to reconsider the effects of the proposed welfare reform bills after Holyrood’s health committee claimed that the changes would see Scotland’s most vulnerable receiving less financial aid. The committee has also warned that a separate Scottish legislation may not be introduced in sufficient time. The UK Government, meanwhile, continues to strongly deny claims that the reforms would hit vulnerable people the hardest.
The take-up of apprenticeship placements is experiencing a North-South divide, according to a recent study. The study, conducted by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), revealed that 70 per cent of all apprenticeships went to youngsters based in the North of England, with Londoners failing to take up training programmes.
An arts writer has been left with permanent scars following visiting a private beauty therapist for Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment, a therapy in which light is used to enhance complexion. Charlotte Cripps, 40, underwent the treatment following recommendation from a friend. During the course of the treatment, Miss Cripps felt “excruciating pain” as a hand-held machine was run over her face and chest.
A woman who was refused contact with her dying mother at a care home in Leeds has been handed £5,000 in compensation. Both Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Leeds City Council have issued a full apology to the woman after finding that she was wrongly prevented from seeing her mother.
A courier who provided an international crime gang with a supply of stolen mobile phones has admitted his guilt to his involvement in the £4.5 million fraud. Warren Horne, 44, stole nine iPhones while working as a delivery driver for DHL and handed these phones over to a gang of fraudsters, London’s Old Bailey has been informed.
The UK’s welfare benefits bill increased by over £4 billion in 2010/11, with certain areas claiming seven times more in welfare payments than others do. The total cost of welfare benefits payment in 2010/11 was £121 billion, a rise on the £116.7 billion bill in 2009/10.
A father has been handed a nine-year jail term for killing his young son because he persistently cried. Nathan Allen bit his 14-month son on the cheek and punched his abdomen with such force that he suffered from internal bleeding, leading to his death.
A prisoner has won the right to read the contents of official reports relating to his time in prison. Colin Gunn, 44, was handed a 35-year jail term for plotting to carry out a double murder.
A study conducted by Queen’s University has found that Northern Ireland teenagers experience Europe’s highest levels of tooth decay. Teenagers in deprived areas of the country were found to be twice as likely to have developed permanent damage to their teeth in comparison to elsewhere.
A cancer charity has found that two-thirds of parents of children diagnosed with cancer have found themselves struggling to cope financially. The cancer charity, who surveyed 245 families, claimed that 76 per cent of those surveyed reported that their child’s diagnosis had had a significant impact on their finances, with two in three of respondents suffering a loss of income.
An anti-police sentiment was one of the main factors to contribute to the breakout of rioting across England in August, a study has claimed. A joint study, conducted by the London School of Economics and the Guardian newspaper, collated the thoughts of 270 rioters. Of the respondents, 85 per cent claimed that anger at policing practices was a motivation to riot.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has claimed that wage inequality between the rich and the poor is worsening in almost all global economies. Recent research, which examined 22 countries, revealed that inequality increased in 17 countries between 1980 and 2008.
A UK senior traffic police officer has called for newly qualified drivers to be banned from using motorways and driving at night. Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport also wishes to see novice drivers faced with limits on the amount of passengers they are able to carry.
HSBC Bank is set to axe “hundreds” of employees, a move blamed on the challenging economic environment. The bank claims that 330 jobs will be axed, yet Unite union claims that over 500 jobs will be lost and have described the timing of the bank’s announcement as “disgraceful”.
Holyrood Government has announced a major programme comprising 80 building projects. The programme has been designed to boost the economy. SNP ministers claim that the projects will produce more jobs and encourage growth. The Scottish government claims that it would continue with the multi-million pound building programme, despite budgets being slashed by Westminster. The programme will comprise of 50 specific building projects and 30 infrastructure programmes throughout Scotland.
A Yorkshire man has been handed a four-figure personal injury payout after his new shoes left him with burnt and blistered feet.
A Nottingham council has been forced to meet the cost of a £200,000 legal bill following chasing up a schizophrenic man for the payment of a £1,909 debt. Gedling Borough Council initially forked out around £50,000 to pursue a bankruptcy order against pensioner Trevor Evans after he unsuccessfully kept up with the costs of his council tax payments, yet a district judge has ruled that Gedling Borough Council failed to realise that Mr. Evans had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and dementia. As a result, the judge has effectively reversed Mr. Evans’ bankruptcy order.
Around 30 per cent of primary schools in Wales will be exempt from being included in a banding structure designed to monitor performance. Leighton Andrews, the education minister, claims that it will prove impossible to produce a sufficient measure of performance for small primary schools. A leader of one teaching union has voiced his opposition to banding, claiming that the system was akin to school league tables.
Union barons have successfully secured bonuses of a maximum of £1,000 for the London Overground staff scheduled to work during the 2012 Olympic Games. The deal exceeds the £500 bonus secured for the staff of Network Rail. The latest agreement puts considerable pressure on both the Mayor of London and London Underground (LU) officials to secure similar bonuses for the thousands of staff working on the Tube.
A man from County Armagh has been found by the courts to be guilty of the murder of his wife. Christopher Harper had admitted his guilt to killing his spouse in August 2010 but had denied that it was murder. The 40-year-old woman was stabbed once in the neck in her own home.
An increasing number of dental patients are losing out on the compensation they deserve, as negligent foreign dentists flee back to their home countries to avoid compensation claims. According to recent figures, one in four General Dental Council registered dentists qualified abroad. Yet the body lacks the power required to provide justice to those who have suffered from inadequate dental work.
A drunk driver who turned his vehicle over after crashing into the entrance to a steelworks has been handed a two-year driving ban.
The Government has announced proposals to tackle parents who avoid paying child maintenance. Under the new scheme, parents who dodge making maintenance payments will suffer from either a reduced income or reduced benefits payments. Maria Miller, the minister for work and pensions, has vowed that parents who currently avoid making child maintenance payments will find it difficult to dodge the new scheme. The scheme would also save taxpayers’ money.
A bridegroom has professed his guilt to causing a fire at Peckforton Castle in Tarporley, Cheshire. The fire caused around £6 million worth of damage to the historic building. Max Kay, from Liverpool, admitted to arson at Chester Crown Court. However, he denied causing arson with the intent to damage or destroy property and to endanger life.
A former parliamentary aide who was suspected of spying has won the right to stay in the UK, following convincing a hearing that she was not liaising with spies in Moscow.
A woman convicted of theft has received a jail term, following providing the courts with bogus letters from both her GP and her employer. Maria Jordan provided the letters to South East Suffolk Magistrates Court, following failing to attend her court case for alleged breaches of community orders.
Unilever employees have voted in favour of strike action against the firm's proposals to end final salary pensions. The Anglo-Dutch firm, which produces products such as Marmite yeast extract and Persil laundry detergent, has announced its disappointment at the result of the ballot, which was organised by the unions of Unite, Usdaw and GMB.
A junior doctor found dead in the River Thames committed suicide over the pressure of work, an inquest has found. Twenty-four-year-old Sumayya Dukes had worked long night shifts at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, upon first approaching the A&E department suffering from stress and exhaustion.
The property market remains “resilient”, with the average house price increasing 0.4 per cent in each successive month, according to claims from Nationwide. The typical price of a property in November of this year was £165,798, 1.6 per cent higher than November of last year. The figures have been revealed following Government proposals to kick-start the housing market through the underwriting of mortgages for first-time homeowners.
An independent panel has called for the scheme designed to compensate businesses and homeowners for damages incurred during the August civil riots to be overhauled. The Riots, Communities and Victims Panel has investigated the causes of the civil unrest, the way in which communities responded and the way in which a recurrence of the riots could be avoided. Its interim report urges changes to the 1886 Riot Damages Act.
Northern Ireland’s education minister has warned that cuts to the school budgets will result in a loss of teaching jobs. Head teachers have been informed that they will receive five per cent less funding this year, a loss of two per cent more than predicted. The education minister John O’Dowd has described the cuts as “unsavoury but necessary”.
A new law has come into power in Scotland to protect people against forced marriages. The legislation provides courts with the power to hand out protection orders to individuals defined as being “at risk”. In the event that these orders are breached, a two-year jail term could be imposed. Victims of forced marriages are also set to receive greater help and existing laws to annul forced marriages have been strengthened.
A meeting has been held in which the public have voiced their concerns over the proposed closure of a string of three care homes located in Allerdale, Cumbria. The closures form a part of a shake-up of health and social care in the area.
A commission has been ordered to look into the Scottish education system amid claims that the education system is falling behind that of other countries across the globe. Keir Bloomer, an architect of the Curriculum for Excellence, is leading the Commission on School Reform that has been designed to conduct an inquiry into the way in which the Scottish education system can be improved.