The Sunderland Commission's proposed last week that proportional representation should be adopted to elect all members of the 22 local authorities in Wales from 2008. The nine members of the commission had been asked to conduct a 'full independent review' into election systems for councils, 'including those which would achieve greater proportionality in the representation of policical parties.' The commission's report, Improving Local Democracy in Wales, looked at the main systems on offer, before plumping for the single transferable vote system, reports The Western Mail (6/7/02, p2).
One in three children in Wales is growing up below the poverty line and facing a lifetime of hardship and a fifth of all Welsh youngsters are entitled to free school meals, according to statistics released by the national assembly. In some parts of the country almost half of all children are living in households dependent on benefits, and in pockets of the South Wales Valleys, some school-age children are unable to read or write, reports The Western Mail(p1).
-- Scotland is soon to acquire its first national park, with the bringing of Loch Lomond and the Trossochs under the protection of the nation, and the government steps in to take control. 'Bureaucracy and the Scottish countryside are not natural bedfellows ... something irretriavable will be lost. Nature benefits most when it is left alone, particularly by those who have not had much to do with it before,' reads a comment column in Scotland on Sunday (7/7/02, p17).
-- Peter Rowe, a driver with chronic arthritis and the debilitating tissue disorder lupus, was quizzed by two Parking Solutions wheelclampers sent to assess whether he was 'genuinely disabled', reports icbirmingham.
by assistant editor Neil Watson