Britain should expect more dangerous flash floods, catastrophic rain and hail storms, droughts and heatwaves from the rapid changes in rainfall patterns brought by global warming, the European Environment Agency said yesterday as clean-up operations continued in flooded Boscastle. At the other end of the country, 57 people, many thought to be elderly, were airlifted to safety in central Scotland yesterday after becoming trapped in their vehicles by landslides after torrential rainstorms, reports The Guardian(p1).
House-sharing between pensioners and young single jobseekers in London and the south-east will be encouraged by the government as part of a radical Department of Health shake-up of social care. The plans will be part of a green paper this autumn to combat the increasing problem of 'adult abuse' and tackle the breakdown of traditional support by families for elderly relatives which the government estimates is worth£50bn a year, reports The Independent(p16). One of the most controversial changes will be a proposal for the elderly to receive direct payments or be given their own budgets for care. Mr Ladyman said they could also benefit from independent assessors, rather than having their cases assessed by NHS or council assessors, who could feel constrained by financial limits.
PRIME MINISTER TO SUPPORT REGIONAL ASSEMBLY CAMPAIGN
Tony Blair has agreed to throw his weight behind the drive for devolution in the north-east by launching the campaign for a yes vote in a forthcoming referendum alongside deputy prime minister John Prescott, reports The Guardian(p10). Next month, before Labour's annual conference, the prime minister - long regarded as a devolution sceptic - will join Mr Prescott and chancellor Gordon Brown to push the case for an elected regional assembly, covering an area from Berwick to Middlesbrough. The Financial Times (p4) reports Mr Prescott as saying the government is not confident the public will vote for regional assemblies in the north of England. He was speaking at the north-east launch of an information booklet about the regional assemblies (available here).
LONDON TUBE DISPUTES OFFICE HAS HAD NOTHING TO RESOLVE
An office of eight people funded by the taxpayer to resolve disputes over the running of London Underground has been criticised as poor value for money after finding nothing to arbitrate in its first 20 months of existence, reports The Guardian(p11). The office of the public-private partnership arbiter, which has an annual budget of£1.6m from the Department for Transport, was established in 2002. But since then London Underground and its infrastructure contractors, Tube Lines and Metronet, have settled their disagreements without it.
MANY ABUSED BABIES SENT HOME ARE REABUSED
Nearly one in three babies returned home after investigations for child abuse in Wales suffered further physical injury or neglect within three years, researchers from Wales College of Medicine at Cardiff University and Keele University said last night. Social Services Inspectorate for Wales chief inspector Graham Williams told The Guardian(p15) said: 'No system can ever be completely foolproof and we are learning all the time in this very complex field ... the findings of this research must be read carefully to inform the future work of child protection agencies, the Welsh Assembly government and the Social Services Inspectorate.'
TRAIN OPERATORS TARGET CYCLISTS IN QUEST FOR MORE SEAT SPACE
Some of the biggest train companies are quietly banning bicycles from many services, claiming that bikes are occupying space for passengers, reports The Times(p12). The government's commissioner for integrated transport, David Begg, has proposed that people buy two bikes, one for each end of their journey.
INCH'S PLANS FOR HEALTHY EATING ARE AFOOT
The Daily Mail(p11) focuses on Halton BC member Diane Inch, who came up with the idea for a healthy eating scrutiny task group. Miss Inch told the paper: 'I will think of ways to make exercise and healthy eating fun and the way I look should have nothing to do with it.'