In the News
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The next WGPlus newsletter will be published on 27/28 June 2011.
IFS: The better off can cut back on expensive luxuries, but for the poor that is often not an option - New research undertaken at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and funded by Consumer Focus reveals:
* Poorer households have experienced higher inflation on average than richer households over the past decade
* The poorest 20% of households faced an average annual inflation rate of 4.3% between 2008 & 2010, whilst the richest fifth experienced a rate of just 2.7% a year over the same period.
* Pensioners (& in particular those dependant on state benefits) experienced higher rates of inflation than non-pensioners
* Price increases in gas, electricity & food have hit poorer households harder on average
HO: The problem is that they are just the ‘tip of an iceberg’ - Some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees, who are now building new lives in the UK, last week met immigration minister, Damian Green, and spoke to him about their experiences, ahead of Refugee Week. Mr Green travelled to a project in Sheffield to learn more about the lives of the more than 3,300 people safely settled across the country through the Gateway Protection Programme (GPP), since it began in 2002.
The programme is run by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in partnership with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It brings up to 750 particularly vulnerable refugees to the UK every year from refugee camps & urban areas around the world. Mr Green met refugees including Esther Freeman, a Liberian who had been living in a refugee camp in Guinea for 20 years until, in 2004, she came to Sheffield as part of the first intake of Gateway refugees.
Refugee Week, which this year runs from 20 – 26 June 2011, is a UK-wide programme of events celebrating the contribution of refugees to the UK.
JRF: They may not ‘listen’ to your advice, but they often copy your bad habits - A major survey of early teen drinking patterns in England finds that drinking escalates to a worrying extent during these years.
The research, conducted by Ipsos MORI for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, also finds that family & friends have a strong influence on teenagers’ drinking patterns, and are stronger influences than some other factors – such as individual well-being, celebrity figures and the media.
Parents have a particularly strong impact on their children’s behaviour with alcohol. The odds of a teenager getting drunk multiple times is twice as great if they have seen their parents drunk, even if only a few times, as those teenagers who have never seen their parents drunk. Ease of access to alcohol was also an important influencing factor on current drinking and drunkenness.
HMT: Should members of the government lead by example with their own pension scheme? - Speech by The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, The Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP to the IPPR on 17 June 2011, regarding proposed changes to public sector pensions.
WAG: Will the watchdog just ‘bark’ or will it also ‘bite’ hospitals that fail to care? - The Welsh Government will ask the NHS watchdog to undertake targeted spot-checks to ensure dignity in care is at the top of health boards' priorities, Health Minister Lesley Griffiths has announced.
The move is in response to concerns raised by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales in a report published earlier this year. “Dignified Care?” examined whether older people in NHS hospitals in Wales receive care in a dignified and respectful way.
Although the report commended examples of good practice across the NHS, it identified a number of failings and made a number of recommendations to ensure improvement. The Minister pointed to a number of activities already underway to bring about improvements in care, such as the Free to Lead, Free to Care programme which empowers hospital ward sisters &charge nurses to manage their wards.
Public Sector Solutions: Tackling Fraud in Local Government - The National Fraud Authority estimates there is £2.1bn of fraud in local government. This fraud reduces your ability to deliver essential services to those that need it most. Do you know the scale of the problem in your authority, or how to combat it?
Click here to find out how to uncover the scale of fraud in your authority.
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