30/09/2009

Other News In Brief

Investment For Council Housing

Housing Minister John Healey has launched the second phase of the biggest council house building programme for almost two decades. He also stated that councils must include details of how they will create new apprenticeship schemes if they expect to get a slice of Government cash. Mr Healey wrote to all council leaders in England encouraging them to consider submitting bids to deliver around £180m of investment that could fund construction of a further 1,200 new council homes, create or safeguard 7,500 new jobs and over 180 apprenticeship schemes.

Ark Royal Fire Tackled

A minor fire in the engine gas turbines aboard the HMS Ark Royal just hours after she returned to sea following a £12m refit has caused a scare. As crowds lined the water's edge at Portsmouth on Friday as the ship left for two weeks of tests off south-west England crew members were tackling a "minor" fire in the ship's engine room. A Royal Navy spokesman said it was put out very quickly and Ark Royal was continuing its programme unaffected.

Army Trainee Dies

A 20-year-old man from Doncaster died yesterday after collapsing during an Army recruitment course in Edinburgh. The young man, Sean Bindokas, became ill after a compulsory run at Glencorse Army Barracks and died nine days later. An Army spokesman explained Mr Bindokas was a potential recruit who attended selection at the Army development and selection centre at Glencorse Scotland. At the moment, Lothian and Borders Police are holding an investigation into his death.

Childrens Sunbed Use Banned

The Wales Assembly Government has proposed new laws to ban the use of sunbeds by people under 18 years of age. Health Minister, Edwina Hart has also proposed a ban on unstaffed sunbed salons. The new measures, which try to reduce health risks - mainly skin cancer - follow the case of a 10-year-old girl from Port Talbot who suffered burns after spending 16 minutes on a sunbed at an unsupervised salon. Currently, a similar ban has already been approved in Scotland. However, the sunbed industry in Wales is resisting calls for further regulations to control salons.

Rubbish Floods Leeds Streets

As a strike by cleansing workers continues in Leeds, rubbish is building up after the city council failed to meet a pledge of fortnightly refuse collections while the dispute last. Leeds City Council hired private contractors to sort out overflowing bins and rubbish-strewn streets but the arrangements are not working well. Meanwhile, hundreds of refuse and street cleaning workers have vowed to strike indefinitely in their row over pay. The Leeds MP Hilary Benn has called on the council to drop preconditions for getting both sides round the negotiating table.

Scottish Housing Market Improves

There has been further improvement in the Scottish housing market according to NHBC, as new homes registrations show a rolling quarter on quarter rise compared with last year. While new home registrations for the three month period June to August 2009 were marginally lower than the last rolling quarter, the drop in applications compared to the same period last year is becoming less pronounced. With 1,576 applications received during the three months to the end of August 2009, registrations were 20% lower than the same period of 2008 (1,966), compared to 34% lower than the last rolling quarter of May to July 2009 (1,677).

(CL/BMcC)

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