The cost of relocating has increased by 70 per cent over the past decade, now standing at £9,000. The rising financial burden has surpassed the increase in property prices over the same decade, according to a recent report. It means that the cost of moving house is now equivalent to 27 per cent of the average worker’s gross full-time income, an increase from 22 per cent ten years ago, increasing pressure on the finances of cash-strapped families.
A mother has been awarded a £6 million compensation payout after her son was left disabled from birth due to hospital errors. Ronak Patel, 29, is unable to use his limbs, has little speech and poor vision and cannot move unaided, as he suffered from a lack of oxygen before birth.
A prison nurse who failed to help her sick colleague has been suspended from working as a nurse for six months. Rose Jolly ignored pleas from two worried colleagues who requested that she help a probation officer who was experiencing what they described as a shortness of breath and chest tightness.
A mother-of-two has admitted her guilt to falsely claiming over £16,000 in welfare benefits whilst in employment as a glamour model. Kirsty Summers, 23, informed officials that she was unemployed when she was earning thousands as a glamour model on TV shows and online. She continued to receive council tax credits, income support and housing benefits for almost 18 months.
Homeowners are £1,400 per year better off than those who rent, a study has revealed. Mortgage deals released of late have allowed individuals to pay an average of £600 per month for a three-bedroom home, £116 less than the cost of renting. In 2008, meanwhile, homeowners incurred an average mortgage of £928 per month for a three-bedroom home, 29 per cent greater than the then cost of renting.
Dave Hartnett, HM Revenue and Customs’ permanent tax secretary, has warned that cash-in-hand payments are harming the economy and depriving hospitals and educational establishments of vital funds. Mr. Hartnett has urged the public to report individuals they believe to be evading tax.
Millions of first-time home buyers are turning to their grandparents to help them to acquire the funds that they require for a house deposit, a new report has revealed. The report stated that increasing numbers of youngsters turn to their parents, only to find that they themselves do not have the funds to help them with their deposit.
Bullied inmates are deliberately self-harming to attempt to be transferred to other jails, inspectors have cautioned. A report, which focused on Wealstun Prison, West Yorkshire, claimed that prisoners felt unsafe and oftentimes, they were bullied over debts resulting from the use of drugs and tobacco.
The company that owns the capsized cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, has awarded passengers £9,000 each in compensation. The cruise ship ran aground on January the 13th, with over 4,000 people on board. The agreement follows negotiations between Costa Cruises and a range of Italian consumer groups.
According to the figures from the National Audit Office (NAO), the Government has overestimated the amount of individuals able to be helped back into work by its new work programme. The National Audit Office claimed that 26 per cent of unemployed over-25-year-olds would acquire jobs, in comparison to the official prediction of 40 per cent.
Individuals who purchase drugs to share may avoid being handed a jail term under new guidance. The sentencing council has also spelt out explicitly that the use of cannabis for medical purposes for serious medical conditions should be acknowledged by the courts when passing sentences to offenders. The official guidance, set to come into force in February, recommends a less stringent approach to “drug mule” sentencing.
According to proposals from a Conservative MP, taxpayers could be set to receive a breakdown of the amount of revenue spent on public services, personalised according to their income. Ben Gummer, who proposed the idea, will present the idea to the Commons. The proposals are likely to be support by the Conservatives, as it may help to enhance support for the Coalition Government’s funding reductions to public services.
A postman who opened charity envelopes and stole the monetary donations inside of them has told a magistrates’ court that he felt “deeply ashamed” at his behaviour. Bernard Mumbaya-Kimbing admitted stealing funds that were supposed to aid cancer and animal protection charities. The father-of-four was handed a two-month suspended jail term following being caught by surveillance teams at the Ancoats-based Manchester Mail Centre.
A Manchester father who choked on a mould that was mistakenly left inside of a crisp packet has been awarded £3, 500 in personal injury compensation. Peter Collins instigated legal action against the popular crisp manufacturer, Walkers. A settlement was reached almost four years after the incident took place.
Homeowners could face increasing mortgage costs if a new EU directive is pushed through by the European Parliament. British mortgage owners will be required to begin repossession proceedings once they have fallen behind on the three months of payments, as opposed to six, with thousands of homeowners facing losing their properties if the EU directive takes effect, it has been reported.
A Russian oligarch’s ex-wife has been awarded £12.5 million in a divorce settlement at London's High Court. International financier, Boris Agrest, had sworn to leave his wife, Janna Kremen, and their three children penniless following the collapse of their marriage in 2007. Ms. Kremen, a former employee of Russia’s military intelligence service, claimed that while her former husband was worth millions, she would be pleased to receive a £10 million pound divorce settlement.
The conditions within the UK’s mortgage market over the coming year are difficult to predict, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). The CML claimed that the crisis within the eurozone had resulted in the uncertainty.
A mother and her newborn died from a treatable infection due to errors made by busy midwives. Lisa Kerr, aged 33, went into septic shock just four days following giving birth to her son, Jeremiah. Jeremiah, who was born premature, died a few days later, from the same infection that killed his mother.
According to the result of a recent study, as many as one in five council housing residents could be fraudulent. The results indicate that 750,000 tenancies may be fraudulent in England, exceeding the Government’s estimates of 50,000. Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, believes that significant numbers of tenants are benefiting from the hugely subsidised rents that they then use to illegally sub-let the properties.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has encouraged councils to agree to the council tax freeze, claiming that they have a “moral duty” to do so. Some of England’s local authorities have claimed that they wish to reject funds from central Government and increase council tax rates. Mr. Pickles has told of how council tax rises would hit hard-working taxpayers hard.
A police officer has been handed an 18-year jail term for sex abuse. The judge described the police officer’s crimes as amongst the “most despicable” had had ever heard. The 43-year-old police officer was fired from Thames Valley Police following being disciplined for threatening those who had complained about him.
A Cunard cruise ship worker is currently the subject of police investigations after he was accused of indecently assaulting child passengers. The crewmember allegedly abused children on the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth vessels over a five-year period. Detectives began their investigation after receiving a tip-off, believed to derive from the parents of one of the abused children. Wiltshire police officers, where the anonymous crewmember resides, have contacted parents across various parts of Britain, requesting that they consent to an interview.
Thousands of women are at a higher risk of developing a range of cancers due to a pregnancy drug their mothers were prescribed while they were in the womb, experts have warned. The drug, diethylstilboestrol, or DES for short, was widely prescribed from 1938 to 1971 under the false beliefs that it was able to reduce the chance of miscarriage. Yet in 1971, researchers uncovered a link between the use of the drug and vaginal cancer in the daughters of the women who were prescribed the medicine.
The family of a patient who underwent organ donation surgery has been awarded compensation after it was revealed that the patient’s heart was removed in the absence of consent. The grieving family was awarded £1,150 after the NHS Blood and Transplant service, the authority that holds the responsibility for supplying donated organs, admitted the error. The error was blamed on a computer software fault.
Tens of thousands of individuals convicted of crimes have been found to reoffend within one month of being handed a caution. In only a year, 21,000 offenders reoffended within a month of receiving a caution. The statistics were released after Crispin Blunt, the Prisons Minister, urged for fewer young offenders to be handed jail terms.
The chief of the Flintshire Mind, a mental health support organisation in North Wales, has warned that changes to the welfare benefits system could force individuals with disabilities to lose their independence. Plans to reduce Government spending on welfare benefits for the disabled by 20 per cent could abolish individuals’ abilities to leave their own homes and will put strain on mental health services in the county, according to campaigners.
A shop workers’ union has been awarded compensation to hand out to over 24,000 former Woolworths’ employees who were made redundant upon the collapse of the retailer in 2008. Usdaw took their case to the Employment Tribunal, believing that the administrators had a legal duty to undergo consultations with them before making staff redundant. Following the tribunal, Usdaw was awarded compensation equivalent to 60 days of members’ pay, the maximum payable for the circumstances.
The Ministry of Justice’s plans have come under fire as residents have voiced their opposition to accommodating prisoners on the outskirts of a Lincolnshire village before they have completed their jail terms. Around 40 inmates will be accommodated near to residents in Freiston after plans for an open jail were given the go-ahead. Under the plans, three semi-detached homes, located just one mile away from the village, will be turned into residential accommodation for prisoners.
Insurers have received criticism for charging unemployed individuals more for their car insurance. Research involving three brokers revealed that vehicle insurance premiums were, on average, 30 per cent greater for individuals out of work. In some instances, premiums were 63 per cent greater. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) uncovered data that showed that unemployment was considered an “additional risk” by insurance companies.
An investigation into the cause of a bacterial infection outbreak has been launched after three babies died at a Belfast hospital. Belfast Health Trust has told of how admission to the Royal Hospital’s neonatal unit has been restricted following an outbreak of pseudomonas. An investigation has been launched to trace the source of the bacteria. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a type of bacteria found in animals, plants, soil and water.
A University lecturer who performed internet research on a man accused of rape has caused the court case in which she was a juror to collapse. Theodora Dallas, 34, told the court that she conducted the internet search, as she was unable to understand precisely what the judge had told her. Ms. Dallas claimed that the judge spoke “too softly” and as a result, she was unable to comprehend what he was saying.
Over 370,000 migrants claimed work-related welfare benefits last year, according to the results of recent research. The Government revealed the statistic following matching welfare benefits records to border control and tax information on their databases. A sample of 9,000 benefit claimants showed that two per cent were ineligible to receive state-funded payouts. Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister, stated that the majority of claims were “perfectly legitimate”, adding that the full picture was yet to be revealed.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has threatened industrial action over plans to force doctors to retire later in life and increase the amount that they contribute to their pensions. However, it has been revealed that doctors’ pensions are amongst the UK’s most generous. The average male GP retiring at the age of 60 can expect to receive a pension of £46,600 per annum, compared to the average public sector pension of £7,541 per annum, with two thirds of all private sector workers failing to have paid into a pension.
A mental health unit in a women only jail in Cheshire has been found to be “wholly unsuitable” by inspectors. Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, claimed that as a whole, the conditions in Styal jail had improved, yet described the condition of the inmates in the mental health unit as “shocking and distressing”. The Ministry of Justice stated that the unit could be either replaced or supplemented.
A Preston man has admitted his guilt at failing to bury the body of his dead father. Christopher Blackburn, 29, also accepted a charge of taking over £1,000 worth of income support that was paid into his deceased father’s bank account. Preston Crown Court heard how neighbours alerted the authorities following becoming concerned that they had not witnessed the movements of the former lorry driver. The court was informed that Christopher Blackburn had lodged at his father’s home in Alderfield.
Campaigners have urged the Government to delay reforms to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), claiming that the new medical assessments that will determine an individual’s eligibility are not ready. Lord Low, a former chairperson of the RNIB and crossbench peer, stated that the livelihoods of disabled individuals were at stake. Ministers, meanwhile, have described DLA as being “out of date", adding that £600 million per year was being handed to people who were no longer eligible.
The UK's most dangerous criminals are able to remain in jail for life, EU Court of Human Rights judges have ruled. Murderers Peter Moore, Jeremy Bamber and Douglas Vinter had requested that the court rule on entire life sentences, claiming that condemning them to a life in prison amounted to treatment that they described as being “inhuman or degrading”. The trio argued that all sentences for inmates should be subject to regular reviews.
The number of jury trials could be dramatically cut under reforms designed to reduce court case costs, it has been revealed. The reforms could save over £30 million per annum, but are likely to be met with strong opposition from civil liberties campaign groups. Juries in cases covering minor thefts, assaults, criminal damage, burglaries, specific drug offences, and certain driving offences will be abolished under the reforms.
The Prisons Minister has rejected proposals to increase the age at which children are forced to take responsibility for their crimes. However, Crispin Blunt has called for a “restorative justice” system, in which young offenders are forced to apologise for their actions, as opposed to receiving a harsh punishment.
Twin girls could face separation, as their local primary school is too oversubscribed to grant them both places. Mia and Hannah Hendry were placed in Carshalton’s All Saints Church of England school four years ago due to the considerable pressure on school places in the area. Mia was first offered a place at the school.
Greater Manchester Police and the family of a Bolton mother murdered in 2008 have launched a fresh appeal to the public to come forward with information as to the identity and the whereabouts of the killer. Sarah Melia, 34, was found dead in her Horwich home in January 2008. Her body was discovered by her 15-year-old daughter. A man was later acquitted of the murder at Manchester Crown Court.
According to an Age UK poll, three quarters of those surveyed believed that the Government should cap care costs for the elderly to prevent the elderly from being forced to sell their properties to pay for their residential care. In excess of four in five respondents did not believe that the Government was doing enough to protect Britain’s most vulnerable older citizens.
A chief economic advisor has warned that unemployment levels are unlikely to fall below 2.5 million over the next four years and will reach a peak of 2.9 million in 2013. Cuts in the public sector are set to increase the number of individuals out of work over the coming 18 months. It has been predicted that there will be 2.85 million unemployed individuals by the end of this year. This figure is set to increase by a further 50,000 during the beginning of 2013.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has called for an increasing number of companies to offer their employees with a chance to buy shares, claiming that in doing so, productivity and growth will be improved. He has told of how the Government plans to reduce the amount of red tape and overhaul the tax system in order to accommodate employee ownership.
A criminal gang spent six months digging a tunnel underneath a Manchester shopping centre to steal money from a cash machine, it has been revealed. Police believe that the gang were local to the area and have been left astonished by the gang’s determination. The gang were found to have dug a 100-foot long tunnel beneath a shop where the cash machine was sited yet only managed to walk away with £6,000 in cash, an amount that has been dismissed as “pocket-change” by the investigating officers.
Thousands of child offenders are being left in prison due to cuts to support services’ budgets, a think-tank has revealed. The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has cautioned that the justice system is effectively being used for the purposes of parenting children. A report, which utilised input from magistrates, senior police officers and youth justice officials, has called for a significant reduction in the number of children handed custodial sentences, claiming that an excessive number of children are being imprisoned for minor offences.
An education charity has urged the Government to pay for intelligent children from poor families to attend private schools. Sir Peter Lampl, who chairs the Sutton Trust, claimed that leading private schools should be open to children whose parents are unable to afford the cost of tuition fees. He has called for a revival of the grant scheme designed to subsidise tuition fees at day schools. However, a Government spokesperson has claimed that the Government’s priority was to fund the improvement of state schools.
Almost £200 million has been added to the NHS compensation claim fund, the Government has revealed. Claims have risen in recent years and the NHS Litigation Authority has struggled to fund compensation payments, according to reports from the Department of Health (DoH). The Government has been forced to provide £185 million amid fears that funds would run dry.
A woman from Norfolk has demolished the building in which her father died after winning a compensation in her local newspaper. Sarah Griffiths, 41, was chosen to press the button that triggered the demolition of the Campbell's Soup Tower in which her father used to work in King's Lynn, Norfolk. Ms. Griffiths, who resides in Clenchwarton, lost her father in 1995. He died following suffering from severe burns while at work in the former Campbell's factory.
London residents are capitalising on the impending Olympic Games by renting out their properties to those who have purchased tickets for the event. Former England footballer, Sol Campbell, is reportedly renting out his townhouse in Chelsea for £75,000 per week during the Games. This is the equivalent of four times the townhouse’s value. Mr. Campbell's five-storey townhouse is amongst the most expensive of the short-term rentals available during the Olympics.
A tenant who was taken to court after refusing to meet the cost of his rent because he was suffering from the effects of anti-social behaviour in the area in which he resided has walked away free from court with his rent bill in credit. Legal action was instigated against Darren Box, aged 31, of Blenheim Close in Braintree, after owing Greenfields Community Housing a total of £1,200 in rent.
The body responsible for investigating complaints against dentists is reportedly suffering from a major backlog of complaints. In 2010, the General Dental Council (GDC) failed to deal with 72 of the 224 serious complaints received, with complainants waiting over nine months for a response. Since the 2010 backlog, the GDC has hired a new chief executive officer and has increased the number of staff it employs and the number of investigatory hearings it carries out. The GDC holds responsibility for monitoring dental professionals.
According to recent research, pensioners in the UK are being hit by rising living costs. For the majority of pensioners, the cost of everyday living has increased by almost 20 per cent over the past four years. This compares with mean inflation of 13 per cent during the same period and means that pensioners are being forced to find an additional £1,000 per annum to maintain the same standards of living.
Hundreds of businesses and homes affected by the civil unrest in London in August of last year have been forced to incur a wait for compensation. Officials have admitted that only £1 million has been handed to victims. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has been accused of delaying vital payments to victims.
According to recent reports, the Welsh Government will fail to meet its own targets for improving the standards of social housing this year. The Wales Audit Office (WAO) claims that the Government will fail to meet its targets, even if the deadline was to be extended to 2017. All of the 221,000 properties offered by councils and housing associations must prove to be in good repair, sufficiently heated and possess modern bathrooms and a kitchen.
Parents have voiced their concerns over the decision of a Hartlepool school to build unisex toilets for its secondary school pupils. The toilet block of Dyke House Sports and Technology College was remodelled in a £12.4 million revamp and it sees both female and male pupils walking out from the toilet cubicles into the same room to use the communal sinks. Concerned parents have contacted Hartlepool Borough Council over the issue.
A coroner in Gwent has heard the inquest of a woman who died when an experienced surgeon removed the wrong organ during keyhole kidney surgery. In July 2010, Amy Joyce Francis, aged 77, was scheduled to have her kidney removed by surgeons at the Royal Gwent Hospital but instead, a surgeon mistakenly attempted to take out her liver.
A teenager who was left brain-damaged following midwifery errors as a baby has received £6.5 million in personal injury compensation. Ewan Waker, now aged 15, was born with dangerously low blood glucose levels. However, midwives on duty at Harold Wood Hospital at the time of his birth, sent him home. Ewan’s mother, Cecilia, described the High Court settlement as a “huge relief”, adding that the compensation enabled Ewan’s future to be secured.
The Government is to ensure that it is easier for England’s head teachers to fire underperforming staff from September of this year it has been announced. The new proposals will see head teachers firing poor teachers within a term, as opposed to a year. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, claims that head teachers have been forced to keep poor performing staff for far too long, adding that red tape was to blame for this.
One-third of all crimes committed in the Greater Manchester area resulted in a conviction between April 2010 and April 2011, figures have revealed. Of the 70,032 crimes committed during this time, only 31 per cent resulted in a conviction. Greater Manchester police officers successfully convicted criminals in 665 of the 2,279 serious violent offences reported. However, their performance was found to be on a par with similar police forces across the UK. Police in Greater Manchester fared worse than those in Merseyside yet better than those in West Midlands and the Met.
Women working in Wales’ public sector can earn themselves an additional 18.5 per cent and men an additional 18 per cent, than they would make working for the private sector, according to claims from a think tank. Estimates from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have revealed that the difference between public and private sector wages in Wales is the UK’s highest wage gap. MPs are set to debate on plans to introduce regional public sector wages.
One-third of employers are considering sacking temporary staff members due to the introduction of new EU rules, a survey has revealed. Research has suggested that many temporary workers will see their employment terminated before the completion of their 12-week trial period. The initial round of sackings is likely to hit temporary employees this month following the new rules being introduced in October. Under the EU Agency Worker directive, employers would be required to provide temporary staff members who have worked at a company for a total of 12 weeks with the same rights and wages as permanent staff.
A landlord from Blackburn has been ordered to meet the cost of a £10,000 fine for failing to pay a gas engineer to carry out the relevant gas safety inspections. Rashid Hussain’s actions were brought to the attention of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after he continued to ignore warnings to arrange a yearly visit by a gas engineer to his property. Blackburn Magistrates’ Court was told that Mr. Hussain had supplied his tenants with proof that gas safety checks had been conducted when he initially rented the property to them in September 2008. However, he failed to ensure that yearly checks were conducted.
Tens of thousands of British emigrants are believed to be claiming welfare benefits while living abroad, it has been revealed. While claimants residing in the UK are forced to endure new tests to determine their eligibility to welfare benefits, officials have admitted that around 4,000 elderly welfare benefits recipients are living abroad and will be free to draw on money from the state until their retirement.
According to figures released through a Freedom of Information Act request, almost 200 families in the UK are claiming in excess of £60,000 in welfare benefits each year. The statistics have shown that 190 families with a minimum of ten children aged less than 18 years, in which one or both parents receive an unemployment benefit, are eligible to receive £61,183 per year from the state.
According to a report conducted by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), the impact of immigration on unemployment levels has been insignificant. However, the report states that it is unclear whether migration will result in a shortage of low-skilled careers for British workers. The report follows claims from Migrationwatch UK that there was a likelihood of a link between increasing youth unemployment levels and increasing migration from Eastern Europe. Migrationwatch UK said that 600,000 migrants had entered the UK while 45,000 young people were unemployed.
A Preston executive has been ordered to serve an 18-month jail term for his involvement in a £17.5 million fraud. Mark Pattinson ran part of the fraud from his Preston-based property. Mr. Pattinson forged faxed documentation claiming to be from BJB at another entrepreneur’s request. The court was informed that Mr. Pattinson netted around £90,000 for his involvement in the fraud.
A teenager who suffered from a known allergic reaction to nuts had died following returning to college after the Christmas holidays, moments after consuming a chocolate brownie served up by her college. Naishel Kelly, aged 14, is suspected to have suffered from an asthma attack following her lunch break at Brighton College in East Sussex. Naishel, from Hove, told her friends that she was having difficulties breathing.
A father who got so drunk that he lost his baby has been branded “disgraceful” by a Hull Crown Court judge. Christopher Dixon had been celebrating his forthcoming wedding on the night that he lost his baby daughter and he was so hung-over that he failed to realise his mistake until nine hours afterwards. Mr. Dixon, aged 34, wept in court upon admitting child cruelty. Judge Michael Mettyear described Mr. Dixon as “irresponsible”.
Tax officials in Ireland are set to target pensioners, benefit cheats, and they will impose penalties, interest and surcharges on those found to have deliberately evaded tax. The Revenue Commissioners plan to investigate the finances of suspected tax evading pensioners and welfare benefit claimants. Revenue officials predict that they will collect around €45 million in additional taxes this year following their purchase of new computer systems that allow them to access information retained by the Department of Social Protection.
A family of Kurdish refugees hailing from Turkey has been awarded a six-figure compensation payout from the Home Office following spending a lengthy time in detention eight years ago. Four members of the Ay family were held in detention centres for a total of 13 months, the longest period for which children have ever been detained in the UK. The youngest member of the family, Medya, was seven years old when the family was detained in n 2002.
From April of this year, landlords who fail to look after their tenants’ deposits may face court action that could amount to up to four times the value of the deposit placed. A Sheffield-based housing solicitor has told of how landlords will risk significant financial penalties in the event that their fail to secure their tenants’ deposits within an approved scheme.
According to figures released by the estate agent, Savills, one-fifth of the total residential housing stock is now owned by private landlords. Tighter lending standards have been noted as a factor for creating many opportunities for investors to enter into the buy-to-let market. According to Savills, the prospect of increasing rental income has lured buy-to-let investors. The number of mortgages received by private landlords increased 16 per cent to £3.8 billion during the third quarter of 2011, according to claims from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
A ten-year-old schoolboy has been arrested by police for allegedly attacking his schoolteachers. The incident occurred at a primary school in Oprington in southeast London. The two teachers, both of whom are believed to be in the fifties, were both taken to hospital by ambulance. One of the teachers suffered from a broken leg as well as a suspected dislocation of the kneecaps. The other teacher suffered from facial injuries, according to a report from Scotland Yard.
The NHS has announced that it will pay for the removal of faulty PIP breast implants. Around 3,000 patients are believed to have received PIP breast implants on the NHS. The health secretary Andrew Lansley has also announced that around 47,000 private patients who have received PIP implants could have their implants removed by the NHS, if there was a clinical need for it.
A bus driver has instigated a compensation claim lawsuit for £75,000 following injuring his back at work. Robert Young has launched a claim against Lothian Buses following having suffered from “whiplash-style” injuries after a combined table and chair unit threw him and his colleague on to a hard, concrete floor. The bus driver has launched legal action against his employer, claiming that the incident had caused him severe suffering.
Recent statistics have revealed that police have arrested in excess of 12,000 under-16s for possessing or supplying drugs in the past three years. The figures have revealed that youngsters as young as 11 are experimenting with drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy and heroin. The figures were obtained with the aid of a Freedom of Information Act request to police forces across England and Wales.
The Government has encouraged couples considering divorce to mediate rather than litigate. Jonathan Djanogly, the justice minister, urged couples to avoid instigating costly court action and to turn to mediation to enable them to control their futures. Mr. Djanogly has described mediation as faster, affordable and more amicable than divorce and added that it was of particular importance to couples with children, as it provides them with the skills required to consider the best interests of their children.
A woman suffering from mental health issues was forced to remain in prison over Christmas after psychiatrists failed to complete her psychiatric report, a court has been told. Maria Rolls, 52, was arrested after smashing mirrors on a bus on July the 12th 2011. During her court hearing, she requested that magistrates offer her the help that she required. They adjourned her case from December the 12th to provide time to complete a psychiatric report, despite her admitting being guilty to causing criminal damage.
Disruptive schoolchildren are being bribed with incentives to stay away from the classroom during Ofsted inspections, according to recent allegations. It has been claimed that such tactics are being used in some schools to fool inspectors.
Preston residents have launched a protest against plans to construct 450 homes in the region. Residents have voiced their opposition to the proposed Haydock Grange development in Cottam. However, officers have advised Preston council’s planning committee to support the plans, despite having received a considerable number of objections to the development.
A pair who murdered a debt collector has received jail terms following a four-week court hearing. Scott Davidson, who now resides in Frodsham, received a life term and has been ordered to a minimum of 30 years in jail for the murder of debt collector, Martin Ithell. His co-accused, Rachael Horton, of Ellesmere Port, received an eight-year jail term, following admitting her role in the murder of Mr. Ithell in March 2011.
Ministers have begun to draw up new proposals to ensure that divorced parents are granted the right to see their children. Parents who fail to accept the orders will risk penalties and could even face jail terms. Tim Loughton, the children’s minister, has told of how the Government’s vision is to allow children to be free to maintain a relationship with both of their parents, regardless of the relationship that their parents have with each other.
A bakery that was established over 80 years ago is at risk of shutting down following receiving a council order not to operate during specific times of the day because a complaint was made relating to the noise produced by the baking of goods. Council bosses informed the Cavan Bakery in London that it is either to stop specific items of equipment between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or to cease trading.
One in nine young adults has driven following taking illegal substances, a report has revealed. The statistics were published by the road safety charity, Brake. Because of its findings, the charity has urged the Government to introduce roadside “drugalysers”, designed to measure whether motorists have been using illegal substances.
Save the Children has urged energy companies to aid families who are struggling to meet the cost of fuel bills. The charity claims that 800,000 families are eligible for the new Warm Home Discount Scheme in 2011/12, which grants families a £120 discount on the cost of their energy bills. However, it claims that a funding deficit by energy companies will mean that only 25,000 families will benefit from the discount.
A leading charity has told of how families with children will lose out due to changes to taxation and welfare benefits aimed at reducing the deficit. The Family and Parenting Institute (FPI) have claimed that the average annual income of families with children will fall by 4.2 per cent between 2010/11 and 2015/16. This is the equivalent of £1,250 per annum.
Prisoners will be expected to carry out full-time work behind bars to prevent them from experiencing “enforced idleness”, the Justice Secretary has revealed. Prisoners will work a maximum of 40 hours per week and will perform a range of tasks, from welding to printing. Around 10,000 prisoners currently work 40 hours a week. However, the number is set to increase to 20,000, meaning that one in four prisoners in England and Wales will be engaging in full-time work.
HM Revenue and Customs is to increase the number of audits it carries out on small businesses. Businesses who fail HMRC’s spot checks to face fines of up to £3,000. Conservative MPs have described the checks on small businesses as disgraceful and claim that inspections must be dropped. HMRC inspectors are to trawl through years of business paperwork to search for insufficient proof of business expenses and income.
Teachers in Scotland have been cautioned that they could be risking their careers by using social networking sites. The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association has told of how teachers can inadvertently reveal excessive amounts of personal information through setting up a profile on popular social networking sites. The union has also made public its fears that teachers could befriend pupils on the sites.
The number of individuals admitted to hospital with dog bites has reached 6,000, new figures have revealed. The increasing medical caseload resulting from out-of-control canines was disclosed by the NHS. In response to the growing number of people suffering from injuries caused by dangerous dogs, new sentencing guidelines, which suggested two-year prison sentences for the worst offenders, were proposed last month by the judicial authorities.
Ministers have added an extra £150 million to the fund allocated for patient care in the home following warnings that the cuts made by local authorities were pushing social care to a crisis point. Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, claimed that the additional cash for England had derived from efficiency savings. A further £20 million is set to be directed to aid people to live independently in their own homes.
Police forces in England and Wales have been found to employ police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) with criminal convictions, including supplying drugs, forgery, burglary, robbery and domestic violence. Those with criminal convictions include senior police officers. At least 944 officers and PCSOs currently in service possess a criminal conviction. The figures were released following Freedom Information requests being submitted to 33 out of England and Wales’ 43 police forces.
Insurance claims for metal thefts from churches have reached their highest ever levels, according to a leading insurance company. Ecclesiastical has claimed that in excess of 2,500 claims were submitted in 2011, surpassing the previous record of 2,400 claims in 2008. According to Ecclesiastical, Chelmsford Diocese in Essex submitted over 90 claims for metal theft and was ranked the worst hit area of the UK.
The Government is set to criminalise the sub-letting of council houses and is expected to force thousands of tenants with incomes of £100,000 or greater to meet the cost of market rates. According to recent figures, around 160,000 council housing tenants sub-let their homes. Ministers have described the figures as scandalous and have called for tougher rules to tackle such behaviour.
Thousands of parents have raised concerns over teaching standards and school policies, Ofsted has revealed. According to Ofsted, almost one third of parents with children at either a primary or secondary school have claimed that they would not recommend the school to other parents. Over 9,300 parents have completed the anonymous online questionnaire since its launch by Ofsted in October.
Two men have experienced injuries following an explosion at the former Welbeck Colliery in Nottinghamshire. The pair, aged 38 and 26, suffered from facial burns and according to police reports, their injuries are considered potentially life threatening. The men were thought to be working in an electrical sub-station housed above the ground.
The Government will fail to fulfil its promise to cut net migration by 2015, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has claimed. The IPPR has predicted that net migration will fall from its 2010 level of 252,000 to 180,000 in 2012. The IPPR has estimated that the number of migrants entering into the UK from outside of the European Union will fall by around ten per cent in 2012 due to the new restrictions imposed on foreign students and the deteriorating economic climate.
Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are to investigate Premier League football stars and the clubs that they play for to establish the extent to which benefits are being granted to them. HMRC’s High Net Worth Unit has sent out questionnaires to the UK’s leading football clubs to demand details of the gifts footballers receive.
A three-year-old from Wrexham who was nearly blinded by a fire lantern has recovered from his injuries after doctors feared that his injuries might have caused blindness. Youngster Cael Jones was left unable to open his eye after hot molten wax fell onto his face after a fire lantern was released into the sky. Cael’s skin turned black upon receiving the injuries and began to peel off.
A popular supermarket store followed one of its employees while she took time off to recover from a back injury caused by slipping in the store’s warehouse. Irene Heslop suffered from a suspected spinal fracture following falling on to the concrete floor of the Asda store in which she worked as a bakery assistant.
The cost of council care services for the elderly and the disabled have sharply increased, according to recent figures. Data derived from 93 out of the total of 153 councils in England have revealed that the cost of meals on wheels services has increased by 13 per cent in the last two years alone, while transport costs increased by 33 per cent.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has highlighted the importance of adequate health and safety measures in the workplace following an increase in deaths in workplaces in Wales. In 2010/11, 11 employees died in the workplace, an increase of four on the previous year. A further 1,399 employees suffered a major injury while at work.
A new Blue Badge system has been introduced in England and Scotland to target drivers who abuse the disabled parking system. An estimated 2.5 million individuals have been granted blue badges. Blue badges allow drivers to stop on yellow lines and avoid parking charges and congestion fees.
The NHS has launched a new helpline for whistle-blowers it has been announced. The helpline has been set-up to ensure that NHS staff can raise concerns over care standards in the absence of fearing reprisal.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) is to conduct an investigation into the use of lie detectors in solving crimes. Hertfordshire Constabulary are to lead the research. The force previously completed a pilot scheme in which lie detectors were used on 25 sex offenders, all of whom were judged “low level”.
The number of private sector employees saving for their pensions has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade, figures from the Department of Work and Pensions have shown. Only 38 per cent of employees are saving for their retirement due to pressures on household budgets.
Property prices in the UK are expected to remain unchanged in 2012, according to Nationwide. The building society has claimed that the average value of a property increased by one per cent in 2011 and has predicted a similar outlook for 2012. Robert Gardner, a chief economist at Nationwide, claimed that the one per cent increase in property prices recorded in 2011 could not be described as strong but has told of how the housing market has remained “resilient”, despite the state of the economy.
Discipline problems in some Scottish schools are going unchecked as their head teachers are refusing to exclude disruptive pupils, a teaching association has highlighted. The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association has welcomed the reduction in exclusions but has warned that exclusions are necessary in some schools.