The Conservatives are preparing to take on the unions and freeze the pay of up to 16 million local government workers next year. Some Tory-run councils are even warning that they might tear up pay agreements before the general election. It follows the Conservatives’ failed attempt to block a one per cent rise proposal pushed through the Local Government Employers. Sir Steve Bullock, chairman of the LGA’s human resources panel, is quoted: “Many staff on the front line have relatively low wages, while recruiting able staff to tough jobs such as social work has never been harder.”
Scandal of cut-price booze
August 10, 2009
A two-litre bottle of cider can be bought from Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s for just £1.21 – 14p per unit of alcohol.
Health bosses say men should not have more than 21 units of alcohol a week and the safe limit for women is 14.
A four per cent can of lager has 1.8 units.
Our investigation into the pocket money prices luring people to drink heavily also discovered Tesco in East Didsbury selling 12 cans of lager for £2.92 – a shocking 16p per unit.
They also had a promotion on selected whisky, vodka and gin – 1 litre for £10 when you spent £30. That works out at 25p per unit of alcohol. At Asda, 70cl of white rum is £6.97.
Following our investigation, health campaigners have called for the government to bring in a minimum price of 50p per unit – triple some current prices.
Health bosses say alcohol costs the region’s NHS at least £400 million a year. One person in the region is admitted to hospital every seven minutes with a drink-related condition and 73,000 crimes a year in the region are linked to alcohol.
Supermarket bosses say they want to ‘reward loyal customers’ with value for money.
All three big firms say they ask customers who look under 25 for ID. Our 21-year-old reporter visited Tesco in East Didsbury, Asda in Hulme and Sainsbury’s in Chorlton – only Sainsbury’s asked for ID.
Dr Alison Giles, chief executive of NHS North West-funded Our Life campaign, says alcohol consumption in the region has gone up 23 per cent in the past ten years – and says it’s partly down to the falling cost.
She said: “For the price of a cinema ticket you can get 36 cans of lager. It seems wrong that alcohol should cost the same as water. Supermarkets do not have to pay anything for the harm alcohol causes outside the store.”
GMP Chief Constable Peter Fahy has previously called for more restrictions on the price of alcohol.
More than 3,500 people across the north west have signed a petition calling for a ban on the most extreme drinks price promotions.
Mark Oaten is to publish a book on the eve of conference in which he will explain in eye-watering detail how he went bald, had a mid life crisis and hired a rent boy (although not,I must make very clear, on expenses).
Meanwhile, the nation is agog to learn the truth about Lembit Opik, the member for Hello! magazine, and Katie green, the generously proportioned and much younger bra model. Are they actually an item, or are they just teasing us all?
” We could do without all this,” sighed a senior party figure. “It’s all going to be a bit cringe-making. We just wish they’d stop going on about it.”
Thanks to Atticus(Roland White) Sunday Times.
The Liberal Democrats are cringe making and we all wish they’d stop going on!! ma
Vandals slashed the tyres of the Labour MP for Salford’s Citroen Xsara Picasso and smashed its windscreen.
The ex-communities secretary said she did not think her car had been targeted because of who she was and called the attack “pathetic and cowardly”.
The MP recently survived an attempt to deselect her over revelations involving her parliamentary expenses.
Ms Blears said did not believe this was linked to the attack on her car, which was first revealed by the Manchester Evening News newspaper.
‘Gang of kids’
She told the BBC: “This was an act of anti-social behaviour by some youths, the same kind of anti-social behaviour unfortunately many of my constituents have to put up with.
“I was canvassing nearby at the time and returned to my car to find the damage.
“I had earlier seen a gang of kids hanging around the car. This was pathetic and cowardly.”
A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “At about 6.25pm on Sunday police in Salford were called to Cemetery Road, Weaste, following a report that a car had been damaged.
“Between 5pm and 6.15pm, offenders had smashed the windscreen of a parked grey Citroen Xsara Picasso and slashed all four tyres.
“No-one was injured in the incident and officers are now investigating.”
Earlier this year Ms Blears, a former Labour Party chairman and Home Office minister, decided to repay £13,000 after it emerged she had not paid capital gains tax on the sale of a property.
Although her actions had been within the MP expenses rules, they were described as “totally unacceptable” by the prime minister.
She was later criticised for resigning from the cabinet days before voters went to the polls in the European and local elections, although she subsequently said she “enormously” regretted the timing of her departure.
In June, she defeated a no-confidence motion in a vote by her constituency Labour association.