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politics Christian charity hits back over Tory attacks on food banks

Christian charity hits back over Tory attacks on food banks+1,685 views

The government's position on food banks was mired in confusion after it emerged that David Cameron had enthusiastically backed their work at a Christian faith group's Easter reception, in contrast to biting criticism of the schemes made last week by Iain Duncan Smith's work and pensions department.A row erupted on Wednesday after figures from the Trussell Trust, Britain's biggest food bank provider, revealed that almost a million people have sought three days' emergency food supplies over the last year.The Christian charity also reported that government use of sanctions against benefit...

POLITICS

politics CCTV in classrooms turning teachers into lab rats, union warns

CCTV in classrooms turning teachers into lab rats, union warns+49 views

The use of closed-circuit video cameras is creeping into classrooms in Britain and turning teachers into "lab rats", according to a survey by the NASUWT union that found 8% of teachers reporting CCTV had been installed inside their schools and observing their lessons.Worryingly, while staff and pupil safety was the most widely-cited reason for the installation of CCTV, a small percentage of teachers said the footage was used to directly monitor their performance.The majority of teachers with CCTV-equipped classrooms said they could not turn off the cameras, and that they were recorded...
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politics Christian charity hits back over Tory attacks on food banks

Christian charity hits back over Tory attacks on food banks+1,685 views

The government's position on food banks was mired in confusion after it emerged that David Cameron had enthusiastically backed their work at a Christian faith group's Easter reception, in contrast to biting criticism of the schemes made last week by Iain Duncan Smith's work and pensions department.A row erupted on Wednesday after figures from the Trussell Trust, Britain's biggest food bank provider, revealed that almost a million people have sought three days' emergency food supplies over the last year.The Christian charity also reported that government use of sanctions against benefit...
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politics David Cameron should try some Easter charity

David Cameron should try some Easter charity+26 views

Easter, with its daffodils, chocolate eggs and bunnies, has long been as much about the rebirth of spring as the glory of the risen Christ, a pagan as well as a religious rite. Barely a third of us, apparently, believe that religion plays a good role in everyday life, compared with the global average of 59%.All of which makes David Cameron's surprising belief (expressed in the Church Times) that Britain should be more evangelical about its Christian faith seem more than a little quixotic. Where Tony Blair, wisely, let it be known that he didn't "do God", this Tory prime minister seems to want...
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politics Teachers vote on strike action at NUT conference as anger erupts

Teachers vote on strike action at NUT conference as anger erupts+153 views

The National Union of Teachers' executive struggled to rein in some of its members in their battle with the government over pay and conditions after heated arguments at its national conference in Brighton on Saturday over the pace and duration of future industrial action.After unanimity in approving motions on Ofsted, teacher qualifications and free schools, a debate over further strike action in June exposed a desire by some members for an escalation in the union's tactics. But the length of debate and accompanying card vote that was required meant the conference ran out of time to consider...
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politics Labour considers raising national insurance to fix £30bn NHS 'black hole'

Labour considers raising national insurance to fix £30bn NHS 'black hole'+221 views

Radical plans to increase national insurance contributions to plug a looming 30bn a year "black hole" in NHS funding and pay the spiralling costs of care for the elderly are being examined by Labour's policy review.The Observer has learnt that the idea is among options being considered to ensure NHS and care costs can be met under a future Labour government, without it having to impose crippling cuts on other services in successive budgets.Senior party figures have confirmed that a scheme advanced by the former Labour minister Frank Field under which funds from increased NI would be paid...
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politics Ukip demotes Neil Hamilton as party fears over sleaze grow

Ukip demotes Neil Hamilton as party fears over sleaze grow+263 views

Former Tory minister Neil Hamilton has been axed from his role as Ukip's campaigns director.He has been replaced by the party's director of communications, Patrick O'Flynn. Regarding Hamilton's omission, O'Flynn explained: "It would have been rather awkward to say 'Actually that's wrong' live on air."Hamilton is understood to be retaining his position as vice chairman of the party, but his role leading Ukip's European and council election campaigns was in danger from early last month after he upset colleagues by publicly accusing Ukip's main donor, Yorkshire-based tycoon Paul Sykes, of...
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politics Sultans of spin: the elite election strategists coming to Britain

Sultans of spin: the elite election strategists coming to Britain+69 views

There have been two kinds of responses within the Labour party to the decision to appoint David Axelrod, former senior adviser to Barack Obama, to help run Ed Miliband's general election campaign.One is driven by cynicism: a view that this is just an expensive stunt that will have no real positive effect; that someone from the US cannot understand the dynamics of British politics and the instincts of British voters.The Tories now have Australian Lynton Crosby and another ex-Obama operator, Jim Messina, while Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have signed up the South African Ryan Coetzee....
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politics Jonathan Aitken calls for prison 'mentors' to tackle reoffending

Jonathan Aitken calls for prison 'mentors' to tackle reoffending+36 views

Former cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken is drawing on his personal experience of befriending and helping a former prison inmate to quit crime and find a stable job, as he calls on ministers to establish a new national network of 15,000 mentors to slash reoffending rates.In a report on mentoring for the Centre for Social Justice thinktank, Aitken tells for the first time how he helped Leroy Skeete, a fellow inmate in Belmarsh prison in 1999, where Skeete was serving an 11-year sentence for aggravated bodily harm, to end his cycle of reoffending and find full-time work a decade later.Aitken,...
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politics Cameron-Appointed Quango Chief Resigns

Cameron-Appointed Quango Chief Resigns+17 views

By Sophy Ridge, Political CorrespondentA businessman appointed by David Cameron to head a 60bn quango has resigned after it was revealed he was declared bankrupt. Tony Caplin was in charge of the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) which provides loans to infrastructure projects. Under anti-sleaze rules, anyone on a public body must inform ministers if they are made bankrupt. A Government spokesman said: "Tony Caplin was appointed to a number of public bodies by the Labour party. He has also left his post on the Medical Research Council. The Labour MP and Chairman of the Public Account...
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politics School Strike Action Threatened By Teachers

School Strike Action Threatened By Teachers+54 views

Education Secretary Michael Gove has been branded a "man with a mad idea for every occasion" as fresh strike action was threatened by teachers. The Cabinet Minister also faced demands to quit at the National Union of Teachers (NUT) annual conference in Brighton. Activists were debating a motion which called on the union to co-ordinate national strike action in the week beginning Monday June 23, if "significant" progress is not made in tackling a long-running dispute over pay and conditions. This threatens to coincide with at least a dozen GCSE and A-level papers due to be sat by students,...
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politics Trussell Trust hits back over Tory attacks on food banks

Trussell Trust hits back over Tory attacks on food banks+409 views

The government's position on food banks was mired in confusion after it emerged that David Cameron had enthusiastically backed their work at a Christian faith group's Easter reception, in contrast to biting criticism of the schemes made last week by Iain Duncan Smith's work and pensions department.A row erupted on Wednesday after the DWP reacted angrily to new figures from the Trussell Trust, Britain's biggest food bank provider, revealing that almost a million people have sought three days' emergency food supplies over the last year.The Christian charity also reported that government use of...
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politics 'Church Has Harmed Gay People' Says Welby

'Church Has Harmed Gay People' Says Welby+151 views

By Sophy Ridge, Political CorrespondentThe Anglican Church has caused "great harm" to homosexuals and is wrestling with the issue of gay marriage, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Most Rev Justin Welby warned Christians in some parts of the world find the subject "almost impossible" to deal with and said it may even have led to mass killings. Same sex marriage became legal in England and Wales last month but is not supported by the Church. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the Archbishop said: "There are different groups around the place that the Church can do - or...
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politics Teachers' Strike Possible If Talks Break Down

Teachers' Strike Possible If Talks Break Down+84 views

Teachers are considering a fresh walkout just weeks after strike action forced schools across England and Wales to close. Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) meeting for their annual conference today will debate the possibility of industrial action next term unless "significant progress" is made in talks with the Government. NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "We have a motion that's going to be put to delegates which envisages industrial action in late June if we don't make progress in the talks with the Government in May. "But the first priority is for a minister to...
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politics Teacher's Strike Possible If Talks Break Down

Teacher's Strike Possible If Talks Break Down+66 views

Teachers are considering a fresh walkout just weeks after strike action forced schools across England and Wales to close. Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) meeting for their annual conference today will debate the possibility of industrial action next term unless "significant progress" is made in talks with the Government. NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "We have a motion that's going to be put to delegates which envisages industrial action in late June if we don't make progress in the talks with the Government in May. "But the first priority is for a minister to...
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politics Cheeky half-truths when Mr Osborne goes to Washington

Cheeky half-truths when Mr Osborne goes to Washington+20 views

My recent reference to George Osborne being "the zero-hours chancellor" relates to the fact that he spends so much time plotting political strategy in No 10 Downing Street that he gives the impression of being on a zero-hours contract with the Treasury.But I am beginning to wonder, from his recent behaviour and speeches, whether the chancellor is having a midlife crisis. The point is that, in the face of the depression brought on by the banking crisis, the chancellor deliberately introduced a fiscal squeeze that severely delayed the recovery.And when Osborne goes on to blame the eurozone...
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politics If Britain wants to become a nation of makers, why not a five-year plan?

If Britain wants to become a nation of makers, why not a five-year plan?+30 views

Britain's apparent love affair with China has intensified over recent months. His trade visit last October was swiftly followed up two months later by David Cameron, who delayed the December autumn statement by a day because of a clash with his own trade mission.These trips and others have highlighted Britain's desire to look to the rapidly growing economies in the east for growth, moving away from a reliance on debt-fuelled spending and financial services and towards manufacturing and exports.Policymakers have recognised the scale of the task, after a steep decline in British manufacturing...
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politics Will David Axelrod give Ed Miliband that 'Yes he can' factor?

Will David Axelrod give Ed Miliband that 'Yes he can' factor?+11 views

If champagne were still allowed on Planet Labour, the corks would be popping to celebrate the arrival of David Axelrod on the election campaign team. One of the main strategists behind Barack Obama's victories, Axelrod is an impressive hire for Ed Miliband.In the pullulating salon of Washington string-pullers vying to claim credit for masterminding presidential victories, the Ax-man has more right to claim credit than most. Usefully for Miliband, Axelrod has an impressive record with ingenue candidates, having first helped hone Obama as a distinctive post-Clinton era politician, when he ran...
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politics So what do the English think of Scottish independence?

So what do the English think of Scottish independence?+70 views

Here, in the eye of an edgy urban housing scheme in the heart of England, the talk is of Scotland and separation and the glue that holds a kingdom together. The Claremont in Manchester's maligned Moss Side describes itself as a community pub (ideal for funerals and christenings) and soon I am buying raffle tickets for a local charity and hoping my purple Scottish notes will pass unremarked. In the smoking shelter, heated and garlanded with hanging baskets, bales of angry razorwire atop the outside wall hint at the civil strife that sporadically brings Moss Side to national attention.Gerry, a...
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politics Axelrod Role Is 'Seriously Bad News For Tories'

Axelrod Role Is 'Seriously Bad News For Tories'+56 views

The man credited with masterminding Barack Obama's back-to-back presidential victories will play a key role in Ed Miliband's General Election campaign. David Axelrod's appointment has been described by the Labour party as "seriously bad news for the Conservatives". Mr Miliband said: "It's excellent news that David has agreed to help One Nation Labour win the next election and build our campaign to change Britain so hard-working people are better off. "He will be a huge asset to our campaign as we work to show the British people how we can change our country for the better." Following the...
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politics David Cameron Stung By Jellyfish In Lanzarote

David Cameron Stung By Jellyfish In Lanzarote+350 views

David Cameron has reportedly been stung by a jellyfish while swimming in the sea at a Lanzarote holiday resort. According to reports the Prime Minister was said to have ignored warnings after locals spotted a number of the stinging marine animals at the island's Arrieta beach. According to the Daily Mirror, tourists saw him suddenly run from the water rubbing his arm yelling: "Ouch!" One local said Mr Cameron first got his children out of the sea after hearing the warning, before he returned to his swim. Local ex-pat Wendy, 59, told the newspaper that one of her friends warned Mr Cameron...
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politics Vince Cable to bring in tougher penalties for 'dodgy directors'

Vince Cable to bring in tougher penalties for 'dodgy directors'+72 views

Reckless company directors may have to compensate victims of their failed business dealings under new measures being brought forward by Vince Cable, the business secretary.The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said Cable was "taking aim at dodgy directors" by bringing in tougher penalties, with some of the worst offences recently seen in scam wine investment, landbanking and carbon credit schemes that targeted elderly people.Under the new measures, there would be greater freedom for courts to ban those with fraud convictions overseas from setting up in Britain, which could have...
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politics Shadow education secretary warns against religious extremism in schools

Shadow education secretary warns against religious extremism in schools+38 views

Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, will warn on Saturday that "the pursuit of a divisive religious extremism" as shown in an alleged conspiracy to take over schools in Birmingham threatens to undermine Britain's modern multicultural society.Hunt's remarks to the annual conference of the NASUWT teaching union in Birmingham follow the uncovering of a dossier named Operation Trojan Horse, claiming to reveal a plot to overthrow teachers and governors insecular state schools in the city and run them on strict Islamic principles."Across the country, we can all point to many...
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politics Teachers to vote on strike motion

Teachers to vote on strike motion+52 views

Parents are facing the prospect of another round of national strikes closing schools, as the country's two largest teaching unions meet this weekend to consider industrial action during the summer term.The National Union of Teachers (NUT) annual conference in Brighton will vote on Saturday on a motion that includes possible strikes after 23 June if it remains unhappy with the progress being made in talks over pay, pensions and working conditions taking place with the Department for Education.Meanwhile the NASUWT, the other leading teaching union, will debate a motion on further industrial...
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politics What price Scottish independence for an army of cross-border workers?

What price Scottish independence for an army of cross-border workers?+9 views

Bill Parkin is on the front line of the independence debate. The same would almost certainly apply if Scotland goes independent; residents would pay tax to Revenue Scotland on their earnings worldwide, including England and Wales. But income may also be taxed locally (through PAYE in England or Scotland), then be liable for tax again in the resident's country (whether that be Scotland or England), with workers caught in self assessment in both countries, and employers burdened with highly complex payroll issues.A person resident in England for more than 183 days is automatically...
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politics Educating Essex: Mr Drew's new school for badly behaved boys

Educating Essex: Mr Drew's new school for badly behaved boys+39 views

Until recently, Michelle Darwin worked 68 hours a week as a care worker. Michelle preferred to leave Zane in the care of his father, househusband Allan, rather than face him after school each day."We called him Lord Zane, because he ruled the roost," says Michelle, 40, from Havant in Hampshire. Tests for psychological problems and behavioural disorders came back negative.Concerned about her son's behaviour and convinced she was "a shit mum", last summer Michelle signed the family up for a unique educational experiment. It was a four-week residential school led by Stephen Drew, headteacher of...
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politics MP Lucas Cleared Of Fracking Protest Charges

MP Lucas Cleared Of Fracking Protest Charges+87 views

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has been cleared of public order offences after taking part in anti-fracking protests. Ms Lucas was arrested after refusing to move from outside Cuadrilla's exploratory oil drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex in August. However, Brighton Magistrates cleared the party's only MP of two charges, obstructing a public highway and breaching the Public Order Act. Speaking after her acquittal, Ms Lucas said: "We are pleased that the court upheld our rights to peacefully protest against fracking but the judgment is not a victory or cause for celebration. "We will...
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MP Mitchell Announces Retirement On YouTube+30 views

The veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell has announced his plans to step down in an eight-minute YouTube video titled "so long, it's good knowing you". In the footage the 79-year-old tours areas of the House of Commons before saying he is getting old and that "it's time to go". Mr Mitchell, who has been MP for Great Grimsby for 37 years, said: "The fact is I'm getting old. What I intend to do is retire in 400 days or so in May 2015, when this Parliament comes to an end and then hand over to somebody else, to a new MP, who I hope, of course, will be a Labour MP, because that's what Grimsby...
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politics David Cameron Says Britain 'Should Do God'

David Cameron Says Britain 'Should Do God'+2,033 views

Britain should be more confident about being a Christian country and use faith to "get out there and make a difference to people's lives", David Cameron has said. In his strongest comments on his faith yet, the Prime Minister admits he, like many, does not manage to attend church regularly. But he says it is time for the church to play a greater role in politics and society. His comments, in an article for the Church Times, follow a number of run-ins with prominent Christian figures about the Government's welfare reforms. Mr Cameron said: "I believe we should be more confident about our...
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politics Cameron Says Britain 'Should Do God'

Cameron Says Britain 'Should Do God'+78 views

Britain should be more confident about being a Christian country and use faith to "get out there and make a difference to people's lives", David Cameron has said. In his strongest comments on his faith yet, the Prime Minister admits he, like many, does not manage to attend church regularly. But he says it is time for the church to play a greater role in politics and society. His comments, in an article for the Church Times, follow a number of run-ins with prominent Christian figures about the Government's welfare reforms. Mr Cameron said: "I believe we should be more confident about our...
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politics N Korea Escalates Kim Jong-Un Hair Poster Row

N Korea Escalates Kim Jong-Un Hair Poster Row+1,292 views

North Korean diplomats have asked the British government to step in after a London hairdresser used an image of the secretive regime's leader in a promotion for cheaper hair cuts. The poster displayed in the window at M&M Hair Academy in South Ealing, west London, featured an image of Kim Jong-Un and his distinctive hairstyle alongside the words "Bad Hair Day?". Staff at the salon said on Tuesday that two men claiming to be North Korean officials had confronted the owner over the poster, while police told Sky News that they had refused a call to investigate the matter from London's North...
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