Sunday, 11 October 2015

Rise in faith-based child abuse

An increasing number of child abuse cases involving accusations of witchcraft and exorcism are being reported to the police. A Freedom of Information request to councils across the UK showed 31 children being accused of witchcraft or possession by spirits in 2014, compared with 21 in 2013 and ten in 2012. Project Violet, a Metropolitan Police faith-based abuse unit, recorded 46 incidents last year, more than double 2013, and 60 so far in 2015.

The Sun,

Right to Rent risks discrimination

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham is calling on Home Secretary Theresa May to drop a key measure in the Immigration Bill for landlords to carry out rigorous checks on the status of their tenants, known as the Right to Rent scheme. It follows a survey carried out by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants which found that 42% of landlords said Right to Rent made them less likely to let a property to someone who does not have a British passport, while 27% said they were even reluctant to engage with people who had foreign-sounding names or accents. Mr Burnham said the evidence showed the scheme could lead to widespread discrimination.  
Independent on Sunday,

Crisis in youth homelessness

The full extent of youth homelessness is more than eight times higher than the Government admits. Some 136,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 in England and Wales sought emergency housing in the past year, according to an analysis by the Centrepoint charity of 275 Freedom of Information responses from local authorities. Only 16,000 young people were officially classed as "statutory homeless". Centrepoint says the Government needs to change the way it reports homelessness figures; all young people going for help should be assessed for their needs; and more funding is needed to enable councils to deal with the problem. Matt Downie from the charity Crisis commented: "Our own research shows that when homeless people go to their council for help, all too often they are turned away to sleep on the streets." Peter Box from the LGA warned: "A chronic shortage of affordable housing and 40% cuts to council budgets over the past five years means councils are facing real difficulties in finding emergency care for all homeless people."
Independent on Sunday,

Monday, 5 October 2015

Stansted line support from Network Rail

Fast services from central London to Stansted airport and through the technology and biotech corridor between the Lea Valley and Cambridge are to be a priority for Network Rail, its new chairman has indicated. Sir Peter Hendy said that Network Rail intends to double the number of lines out of northeast London to four. Stephen King, director of the London-Stansted-Cambridge Consortium of business leaders and local authorities, said: "It is great to have Sir Peter's support. This line has been overlooked for too long.”

New infrastructure body

Chancellor George Osborne is set to use his keynote speech to the Conservative conference in Manchester to unveil a new commission dedicated to speeding up progress in areas such as transport, energy and housing. Former Labour Cabinet minister Lord Adonis will chair the National Infrastructure Commission to plan more railways, airports, power stations and other multi-billion-pound projects. Mr Osborne is understood to be “frustrated” with local authorities hindering infrastructure development, and aims to change planning laws. In a separate development, Mr Osborne will also announce plans to require local authority pensions schemes to merge into regional bodies with the critical mass needed to invest in infrastructure schemes. The 89 bodies, which control about £180bn in investments, will be merged into just six groupings.