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Weekly News Round-Up: Civil servants, council tenants and the care system

Top civil servant Jeremy Heywood met Cuadrilla chief straight after Sussex fracking announcement

Britain’s most senior civil servant travelled hundreds of miles to attend a dinner with the Chief Executive of the fracking company Cuadrilla – just a day after the company announced its controversial plan to drill for shale gas in Sussex.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary attended the dinner in a private room of the Marriot Hotel in Preston in May this year.

He was joined by four other senior Government officials including the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Other guests included representatives of the onshore oil and gas industry and service management company Carillion.

The meeting came to light in emails released to the environmental group Greenpeace in a Freedom of Information request. Read more

Oliver Wright | The Independent | 19th September 2013

Exclusive: 50,000 people are now facing eviction after bedroom tax

More than 50,000 people affected by the so-called bedroom tax have fallen behind on rent and face eviction, figures given to The Independent show.

The statistics reveal the scale of debt created by the Government’s under-occupancy charge, as one council house tenant in three has been pushed into rent arrears since it was introduced in April.

Figures provided by 114 local authorities across Britain after Freedom of Information (FoI) requests by the campaign group False Economy show the impact of the bedroom tax over its first four months. Read more

Emily Dugan | The Independent | 15th September 2013

Four out of five councils now limit vital services like meals on wheels to the ‘critically’ in need

Only the most severely frail and disabled elderly can now expect to get home help from the state, a large-scale survey has found.

Four out of five councils are limiting vital amenities such as meals on wheels and alarm systems to the ‘critically’ in need.

The result is that hundreds of thousands who desperately require help are shut out of the care system and left to cope on their own.

The tightening of the rules by councils in charge of the home help system has meant that its number of users has fallen by nearly a third in just five years, from more than a million to just over 700,000.

The checks carried out by Which? show the depth of the cuts to the home help service by councils desperate to reduce costs.

Restrictions on who gets care at home began eight years ago, as social services departments found ways to limit the help they give in a way which carried little risk of a backlash for elected councillors.

Which? said that its figures, based on Freedom of Information requests sent to 181 councils, show that 80 per cent don’t offer care at home to anyone who falls outside the ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ categories of disability. Read more

Steve Doughty | The Daily Mail | 19th September 2013


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