All posts by Ruth Sims

NHS uncovers 1,000 FGM cases in England

There were more than 1,000 newly recorded cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in England between April and June, NHS data reveals.

For the first time the official figures were expanded to include information from general practices and mental health trusts.

They show nine cases where girls were under 18 when first seen.

FGM is illegal across the UK and it is illegal to take someone abroad for this purpose.

Not all cases would have taken place in the past three months – some may have been picked up at routine appointments for other health issues many years after the incidents occurred.

And the report did not look at whether the cases took place in the UK or abroad.

Sometimes called female circumcision, FGM refers to procedures including the partial or total removal of external female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

It can cause issues including severe pain, infections, pregnancy complications and even death.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre figures covered cases of FGM reported by the women and girls themselves and others recorded by clinicians during appointments.

‘Global dimension’

Experts say figures on the practice have been patchy and it is difficult to know exactly how many women have been affected by FGM.

But the government has plans to make data collection mandatory across many areas of the NHS.

Tanya Barron of the charity Plan UK said global action was needed to tackle this problem.

She added: “It’s shocking to see the extent of FGM here in the UK.

“We’ve seen hugely increased attention on this problem in the past few years and we are now waking up to the scale of this terrible practice.

“What we must always keep in mind though is that this is not specifically a British problem.

“FGM is a practice with an inherently global dimension.

“And while it’s vital that we do everything we can to stop FGM here in the UK, as well as to support the girls and women affected by it, the reality is that this practice won’t end in the UK until it is ended worldwide.”

Analysis: What do the numbers show?

Smitha Mundasad, health reporter

Charities say it is very difficult to know exactly how many women have been affected by FGM in the UK.

And many of the cases recorded by the NHS in the last three months will have not have taken place recently.

There are a number of reasons women or girls do not talk openly about FGM soon after it happens – including the fear of stigma or getting people into trouble.

Some incidents may come to light years later – for example at a hospital appointment for an unrelated issue or during an antenatal visit.

What is new is a concerted push to collect more data on FGM.

In the last few months clinicians in acute hospitals in England have been told it is mandatory to record any cases they see – whether they were previously recorded by NHS systems or not.

And in October this reporting will be mandatory for GP practices and mental health specialists as well.

Many practices have already started collating these figures and some have been used in this latest report.

For these reasons we can’t compare any previous figures and so experts don’t yet have a sense of what the trend is.

But there are many experts who hope that more data will help them better understand the scale of the problem.

Source: BBC News (Health)

Romanian super crooks enter Britain.

Police hunt large number of Romanian super crooks who slipped into Britain.Criminals convicted in Europe are now free to kill in the UK. Police and immigration officers are searching for hundreds of very serious foreign criminals in Britain. Is this the country our leaders have created?

John Booker

Protecting our Countryside

PROTECTING OUR COUNTRYSIDE

UKIP will not allow new housing to strip our nation of prime agricultural land. This must be kept for its primary purpose, creating a secure food supply for Britain and for export.

Neither will we allow the countryside to be swamped by over-development: we believe strongly that our countryside must be preserved so it can be enjoyed by future generations.

We will replace the current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and introduce fresh national planning guidelines that will prioritise brownfield sites for new housing and genuinely protect the green belt. The NPPF as it stands is disastrous for the environment. It has given developers the green light to build just about anywhere and seriously restricts the ability of local authorities to refuse planning permission for inappropriate developments.

The Tories promised ‘localism,’ in their 2010 Manifesto, saying they would give more power to local people but, in reality, their planning policies have stripped powers away from communities.

UKIP genuinely supports local communities having a greater say over what happens in their locality and we will:

• Free local authorities from government-imposed minimum housing numbers

• Reverse current policies of facilitating large-scale rural residential developments,

• Promote smaller 6-12 unit developments in rural areas to extend existing villages

• Encourage local authorities to require a proportion of self-build plots to be provided in all large developments

• Allow large-scale developments to be overturned by a binding local referendum triggered by the signatures of 5 per cent of electors within a planning authority area, collected within three months

• Reduce the cost and bureaucracy of planning applications by merging Planning and Building Control departments in local authorities.

SUPPORTING HOMEOWNERS

UKIP will change the law to allow mortgages to become inheritable, as they are in other countries. This will allow lenders to resume lending to older borrowers.

UKIP will not introduce any form of ‘Mansion Tax.’

Tackling Homelessness

TACKLING HOMELESSNESS

There are no clear national statistics to tell us how many people are homeless in the UK. To give an indication of the scale of the problem, the Autumn 2014 total of rough sleeping counts and estimates in England was 2,744, according to the government. This was an increase of 14 per cent on 2013 figures. Meanwhile, 112,070 people declared themselves homeless in England in 2013/4.

The scale of homelessness in 2015 is morally reprehensible and UKIP will seek to eliminate this national scandal.

Tackling homelessness starts with knowing who and where homeless people are, so they can be offered housing and other life opportunities. We will establish a National Homeless Register to make it easier for those of no fixed abode to claim welfare entitlements; get access to medical and dental services; and enable support services to identify those at risk of physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

LOCAL HOMES FOR LOCAL PEOPLE

UKIP will encourage moves by local authorities to prioritise people with strong local connections when making housing allocations.

We will relieve pressure on social housing waiting lists by preventing foreign nationals from obtaining access to social housing until they have lived here and paid UK Tax and National Insurance for a minimum of five years. This restriction will not apply to foreign nationals with current social housing tenancies.

RIGHT TO BUY AND HELP TO BUY

UKIP supports the principle of extending home ownership and giving people the right to own the homes they may have lived in for generations as social housing tenants.

We will plough 100 per cent of all revenue from Right to Buy sales, after essential costs have been paid back, into new community housing.

We will not allow non-British nationals access to the Right to Buy or Help to Buy schemes, unless they have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

Given that Britain’s social housing stock is so massively oversubscribed, we do not believe it is either sensible or fair to give foreign nationals the opportunity to obtain social housing stock, buy their home at a discount and then sell it for an untaxed profit before moving back abroad.

All local authorities, social landlords and housing associations will be required to register the nationality of their tenants in order to ensure this policy works in practice.

In the same way, only British citizens will be permitted to access Help to Buy schemes

Building New Homes

INCENTIVISING BROWNFIELD DEVELOPMENT

It would be possible to build up to 2.5 million houses on brownfield sites, if developers were less reluctant to take advantage of this rich source of potential housing land. Problems with remediation of derelict land that has had a previous use and may have contamination issues to address can be off-putting to potential developers. This is despite the fact technology to clean up sites and make them fit for new development is now readily available.

We will take steps to remove the barriers to brownfield builds with the aim of building one million homes on brownfield sites by 2025 to address the current housing shortage.

UKIP will require the Environment Agency to compile a National Brownfield Sites Register and provide a remediation assessment where appropriate.

The following financial incentives will be offered to encourage developers to build on brownfield sites:

• Grants of up to £10,000 per unit will be available to developers to carry out essential remediation work.

• Properties built on registered brownfield sites will be exempt from stamp duty on first sale, up to the £250,000 threshold.

• A grant to cover the cost of indemnity insurance will also be available to developers of decontaminated land. To further incentivise brownfield development, local authorities will be allowed to keep the New Homes Bonus beyond six years on brownfield sites.

BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOMES

We will increase the supply of affordable housing by:

• Identifying long-term dormant land held by central and local government so it can be released for affordable developments

• Relax planning regulations for the conversion of off-high road commercial and office space and other existing buildings to affordable residential use.

There is a dire shortage of affordable housing in Britain. Many of those who would like to own their own home are simply unable to even contemplate it. They are ‘locked out’ of home ownership.

BELIEVE in BRITAIN

While these measures will help address the housing shortage, we cannot just build our way out of the housing crisis. Our housing policy needs to be seen within a wider context of addressing the issue of supply and demand. Controlling the numbers of new migrants coming to Britain is one important part of the housing jigsaw.

Social Housing

There is a dire shortage of affordable housing in Britain. Many of those who would like to own their own home are simply unable to even contemplate it. They are ‘locked out’ of home ownership.

Social housing waiting lists get longer and longer. The Thatcher era saw a dramatic extension in home ownership, but with a corresponding decline in social housing, as proceeds from the ‘Right to Buy’ initiative were not reinvested back into community housing.

Only 23 per cent of properties are deemed ‘affordable’ nationally, but the situation is even worse in the countryside, where only 5 per cent of rural properties are affordable and social housing is more difficult to find. Yet no-one wants to see our green fields concreted over, or the beauty of our rural landscape destroyed.

UKIP will introduce policies to incentivise the creation of more affordable housing, while protecting rural communities and preserving our precious countryside.

BRINGING EMPTY HOMES BACK INTO USE

Housing charity Shelter reports there are 279,000 privatelyowned long-term empty homes in England alone, while other bodies, such as the Empty Homes Agency, put the figure much higher still. The most obvious way to create new homes is by bringing these empty homes back into use.

We will place a statutory duty on local authorities to:

• Include a commitment to bringing empty properties back into use within their broader housing and planning strategies

• Charge those whose homes are empty for more than two years 50 per cent more than the applicable rate of council tax, with exceptions for owners who are in HM Armed Forces.

Regulating our NHS

EFFECTIVE AND POWERFUL HEALTHCARE MONITORING

We think NHS managers should be subject to disciplinary oversight in the same way as doctors and nurses who are regulated by the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

We will introduce a ‘Licence to Manage’ as a statutory requirement to prevent incompetent, negligent or bullying managers being moved sideways or re-employed by the NHS as external consultants.

We will also abolish Monitor and the Care Quality Commission and place their inspectorate functions into the hands of county health boards made up of health and social care professionals elected locally by their peers.

County health boards will have the power to inspect health services, conduct snap inspections and take evidence from whistleblowers. They will be charged with a statutory duty to investigate concerns flagged up by their local Healthwatch or local authority Health Scrutiny panels, so local democratic control and accountability is brought to healthcare decisions directly affecting our local communities.

ENDING LABOUR’S PFI SCANDAL

When short-sighted politicians are desperate for votes, they make appalling decisions. Labour’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scandal is a case in point. By the time the £14 billion capital cost of NHS PFI contracts have run their course, the NHS will have been forced to pay out a total of £76 billion. UKIP will not continue to privatise the NHS by the back door, as both Labour and the Conservatives have done. We will end the use of PFI contracts within the NHS.

STRIPPING OUT UNNECESSARY EU REGULATION

Numerous EU Directives prevent medical institutions from operating in the best interests of patients. We will scrap at least two of them: the EU Clinical Trial Directive, which has led to a substantial drop in clinical research and threatened Britain’s position as a world-class leader in this field; and the EU Working Time Directive which, by limiting working and training time to 48 hours in any one week, prevents medics l

Protect our Homeless

UKIP councillors at Sheffield city councils first meeting of the New Year asked Sheffield city council to open one of the many council owned but unused city buildings for those sleeping on Sheffield streets to use this winter.
It was put to the vote in the council’s full monthly meeting on Wednesday 6th January.
How did the city of sanctuary council vote bearing in mind refugees are being flown to UK to be homed in Sheffield from half the world away?
All 4 UKIP councillors voted in favour of providing the homeless on our own streets with the opportunity to sleep in a warm dry building which was being unused.
ALL  Labour councillors, ALL Libdems councillors and ALL Green councillors voted against the proposal.

The UK is at odds with their elected representatives

John Booker – “Never in my life time have I felt the people of The United Kingdom are so at odds with their elected representatives and the so called ruling classes. Not only is there a vast chasm opening up between the people and the politicians, but for the first time they are putting our safety in danger. We have the right to ask, “who are you”, we have the right to know the intentions of people coming to our land. Not to judge on colour, creed, race, or religion but on the content of their character, do you want to live as we live? Do you want to embrace our culture, not change it? To the power brokers who have engineered this situation I say, one rule of life, “first do no harm”, if you can’t make a situation better, don’t make it worse. Unless our rulers grasp this basic fact, we are heading towards sedition, the people will abandon our rulers and their rules. Insurrection will follow, the battle between the people and those in power, the ones who believe they have complete power over us. This all starts because of the strongest emotion, passion, passion for family, friends, community and country, passion leads to action and action leads to results. What we have in our United kingdom is ours, we have earned the right to make this statement, we have fought to have this right, now and in past centuries, we have shed oceans of blood to have this right, it will not be taken from us, it will not be taken. To our current Prime Minister I ask, have you done your best for this country? Have you done your best for the citizens of this country? The decisions you make while you are in power, will follow you for the rest of your life when you are out of power. The United Kingdom is watching”