Key Quotes for 2013

Key Quotes for 2013

A world perspective in bite-size chunks
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Last update: Monday 22nd July
 
The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged families not to make their lives ‘miserable’ at Christmas attempting to keep up with ‘ridiculous and absurd’ pressures to spend money. The Most Rev Justin Welby admitted it was a ‘cliche of modern life’ to complain about materialism at Christmas but he said the ‘over the top’ consumerism of the festive season was putting relationships under strain.
Social IssuesThe Sentinel, November 12, 2013
 
Sir John Major has criticised the ‘truly shocking’ dominance of the upper echelons of power in Britain by privately educated and affluent middle class. In remarks that will sting Eton-educated David Cameron, his Conservative predecessor in 10 Downing Street called for more to be done to boost social mobility. He spoke out in a speech to party members at the South Norfolk constituency party.
PoliticsThe Sentinel, November 12, 2013
 
More than 400,000 people have lost Jobseeker’s Allowance under new Government sanctions aimed at ensuring they actively seek work. Some 580,000 sanctions were handed down between October 2012 and June 2013, a six percent rise on the same period a year earlier, before rules were toughened. The reasons for withdrawal of the benefits range from leaving a job voluntarily to failing to attend an interview. The Government said the sanctions were used as a deterrent. The latest figures have been published by the Department for Work and Pensions. The new sanctions were introduced on October 22 2012. If a comparison is made between November 2012 and June 2013 and the same period a year earlier, then there was an 11% rise in sanctions. In the most extreme cases, individuals can lose the benefit for three years if, for example, they leave three jobs voluntarily.
Work/EmploymentThe Sentinel, November 7, 2013
 
Ed Miliband has launched an attack on Britain’s ‘Wonga economy’, saying the rise of payday lenders symbolised the squeeze on living standards facing millions of ordinary families. The labour leader accused the firms of preying on the vulnerable, creating a ‘quiet crisis’ for thousands of households left with debts they were unable to pay off. His intervention came as representatives of the three of the biggest payday lenders – including Wonga – were being questioned by MPs on the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.
MoneyThe Sentinel, November 6, 2013
 
More than half of anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) issued in the last 12 years have been breached at least once, fresh figures revealed. Of the 22,974 Asbos issued between June 1 2000 and December 31 2012, 58%, or 13,295, have been breached once, Home Office statistics showed. Of these, 9,992 – or 43% of all Asbos issued – have been breached more than once. And on average if an Asbo is breached, it is breached five times, the data reveals. Asbos are to be replaced by new measures introduced in the Government’s Anti-social Behaviour Bill.
CrimeThe Sentinel, November 1, 2013
 
The BBC could face a cut in the licence fee or even have to compete with other broadcasters for a share of the money unless it rebuilds public trust and becomes more transparent, a senior Conservative minister has suggested. Tory chairman Grant Shapps said the BBC must tackle a culture of secrecy and waste in the wake of the Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall scandals and rows over stars’ salaries and executives’ pay-offs.
MediaThe Sentinel, October 23, 2013
 
David Cameron has attacked Facebook as ‘irresponsible’ for lifting a ban on videos of beheadings being posted on its site. The Prime Minister said the social network must explain its decision to allow images showing decapitations to ‘worried parents’. Facebook indicated it could introduce warnings for viewers about graphic content but insisted the website should be a place where people could share their experiences about controversial events.
Social IssuesThe Sentinel, October 23, 2013
 
Home Secretary Theresa May has said ad vans telling illegal immigrants to ‘go home or face arrest’ were ‘too much of a blunt instrument’ after the Government confirmed it would scrap the campaign. The Home Office recently came under fire for using the ads reading “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest”. The department confirmed earlier it does not intend to roll out the campaign nationwide following an evaluation.
Social IssuesThe Sentinel, October 23, 2013
 
The NHS could claw back more than £500 million in a year if it was better at charging foreign nationals for using NHS services, a report suggests. The health service could raise the cash – which is the equivalent of 0.45% of its annual budget – by deterring so-called ‘health tourists’, recovering care charges from overseas visitors and charging temporary migrants for accessing NHS care, the report found. Health tourists – such as women who travel to the UK in late pregnancy and give birth in an NHS hospital before returning home – cost the health service at least £70 million each year. Experts have previously raised concerns about the escalating costs of health tourism particularly across maternity services, oncology, HIV services, infertility and in the treatment of renal failure. But a recent European Commission report concluded that so-called benefits tourism was “neither widespread nor systematic”.
HealthThe Sentinel, October 23, 2013
 
The Archbishop of Canterbury has waded into the row over energy prices, warning that the latest wave of hikes looks “inexplicable”. Justin Welby insisted the Big Six companies had an obligation to behave morally, rather than just maximising profit. The intervention, in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, came after British Gas followed in the footsteps of SSE by announcing a 9.2 per cent increase in prices. The head of the Church of England, himself a former oil executive, said he understood the anger the rises were generating. “The impact on people, particularly on low incomes, is going to be really severe in this, and the companies have to justify fully what they are doing,”
MoneyThe Sentinel, 21st October 2013
 
Britain’s basic state pension is to rise by less than £3 a week – offering little to help to households facing steep rises in energy bills – as the Treasury pockets £1.5 billion in savings from a benefits squeeze. The anticipated pensions rise from £110.15 to £113.10 is linked to September’s official CPI inflation figure of 2.7%, which was published by the Office for National Statistics. But it comes just a week after electricity and gas supplier SSE became the first of the Big Six energy companies to hike tariffs this year, announcing an 8.2% rise which is three times the Consumer Prices Index rate. Campaigners say the Government should restore a link between pensions and a different inflation measure, the Retail Price Index (RPI) – which they say would have resulted in a £3.50 rise. Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners’ Convention, said the decision to abandon the link after the 2010 election had robbed older people of a proper increase in their pensions.
MoneyThe Sentinel, 16th October 2013
 
97% of abortions carried out in the UK last year could have been illegal, a pro-life charity chairman said in early August. Professor Jack Scarisbrick referred to the latest Department of Health statistics which show that abortions were mostly performed on mental health grounds. But the latest Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists guidelines say women with an unexpected pregnancy are no more or less likely to suffer adverse psychological consequences if they have an abortion or continue with the pregnancy.
Social IssuesEvangelicals Now, September 2013
 
Local Labour leaders in Plymouth have removed prayers from the beginning of council meetings, as ‘part of the process of modernisation’. Prayers will be 15 minutes before the meeting officially starts at 2 o’clock. A local Conservative councillor strongly criticised the move, slamming ‘the thoughtless rush for change’.
Religion/SpiritualityEvangelicals Now, September 2013
 
In early August the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision in the joint case brought by Paul Lamb and the family of the late Tony Nicklinson. The case was dismissed by three judges who ruled that it was unlawful for a doctor to end the life of a patient on request and that it was for Parliament, not the courts, to decide whether the law should be changed. Andrea Williams said: ‘It was always unlikely that the court would rule in [their] favour. The legal battle is part of a bigger strategy of the anti-life lobby.
HealthEvangelicals Now, September 2013
 
Wealthy gay dad, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, said in early August that he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host gay weddings. He told the Essex Chronicle that he will take legal action because, ‘I am still not getting what I want’. A government bill legalising gay marriage passed Parliament over the summer, but it was said to include measures to protect churches from being forced to perform same-sex marriages.
Social IssuesEvangelicals Now, September 2013
 
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