Key Quotes for 2013

Key Quotes for 2013

A world perspective in bite-size chunks
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Last update: Friday 19th July
 
Major construction companies are to compensate workers whose names were on a secret industry blacklist. The move follows years of campaigning by unions after it was discovered that more than 3,200 names, mainly of building workers, were kept on the list, drawn up by an organisation called The Consulting Association. Workers involved claimed they were denied work, often for merely raising legitimate concerns about health and safety on building sites. Legal action is being taken on behalf of some of those on the list. A statement said: “The companies – Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O‘Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skansa UK and VINCI PLC – all apologise for their involvement with TCA and the impact that its database may have had on any individual construction worker. The companies have joined together to establish the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme. It’s intended to make it as simple as possible for any worker with a legitimate claim to access compensation.”
Work/EmploymentThe Sentinel, 11 October 2013
 
Labour has criticised a hike of up to 10% in gas and electric bills for millions of households, accusing David Cameron of failing to get a grip on profiteering suppliers. Energy giant SSE sparked fury by announcing rises that will add £106 to its typical duel-fuel customer bill – pushing it up to £1,380 a year. The move is expected to trigger a series of increases by the other big six energy suppliers – Centrica, EDF, Scottish Power, E.ON and npower. The company said wholesale energy prices were up 4%, paying to use newly-upgraded networks by 10% and Government-imposed levies up 13%. But Labour Leader Ed Miliband insisted the suppliers were ‘ripping people off’.
MoneyThe Sentinel, 10 October 2013
 
Video footage of distracted motorists, including a driver caught having a shave using a razor and a water bottle and a woman doing her make-up in the rearview mirror while on a motorway, have been released by police. The operation across the motorways of Hampshire and the Thames Valley resulted in 198 motorists being prosecuted with their offences caught on camera from an unmarked lorry used as a viewing platform by officers. Other activities captured included a lorry driver brushing his teeth, two van drivers reading newspapers as they drove, one person reading a map on the steering wheel and two drivers using iPads (one on the steering wheel) as they travelled along. The drivers were issued with notices which will result in a £100 fine and three points on their licence.
Odd FactsThe Sentinel, 10 October 2013
 
One in four students claim they are given too little information and advice about alternatives to university. The survey – conducted by the online site The Student Room – also found many teenagers face an expectation that they will take a degree rather then look at other options. Around 4,000 current and potential students were quizzed about their views on university education and the reasons for picking courses. Altogether, 27.5 per cent of them said they felt they were given insufficient information on alternatives, such as taking a gap year, vocational training, studying part-time or employment. More than half (54.3 per cent) revealed their parents made the strongest impression on them when deciding what to do, followed by their head of year or sixth form (15 per cent) and their friends (14 per cent). The main reasons for going to university were improved career prospects, interest in their chosen subject and the chance to gain independence. Jason Geall, managing director of The Student Room, said: “University is the right option for many A-level students, but only for the right reasons and in students’ best interests. Most want to investigate all options before committing to a life-changing and career defining decision.”
Young PeopleThe Sentinel, 14th August 2013
 
Rail users face another ‘massive’ increase of around 4.1% in fares in the new year after new increases signalled more ‘misery’ for passengers. Unions and campaigners staged a series of protests at stations across the country to highlight the increase, which will be well above average rises in earnings. Rail Maritime and Transport union leader Bob Crow said: “This latest inflation-busting hike in fares is a kick in the teeth for the British people who are condemned for another year to pay the highest prices in Europe to travel on clapped-out, overcrowded and unreliable trains while the private operators are laughing all the way to the bank. Anyone who thinks that this massive fares surcharge will be invested in our railways needs their head examined. The stone-cold case for public ownership of our railways is now overwhelming.”
Social IssuesThe Sentinel, 14th August 2013
 
The number of people claiming unemployment benefit is continuing to fall. Figures show there were 7,545 people picking up Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) in Stoke-on-Trent last month, compared to 7,758 in June. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows another slight fall in claimants in Newcastle, with 2,164 people receiving JSA in July, compared to 2,193 the previous month. In the Staffordshire Moorlands, the JSA claimant count fell from 1,114 in June, to 1,031 last month. However, over the border in South Cheshire, the number of unemployment benefit claimants is up. In Cheshire East, 5,109 people collected the benefit – a slight increase on June when there were 5,099 claimants.
Work/EmploymentThe Sentinel, 15th August 2013
 
Seventeen central Government departments spent almost £300 million on pay-offs to civil servants last year. The data reveals the Ministry of Justice recorded a high of £89 million in exit payments for staff in 2012/13, followed by the Department of Work and Pensions’ £67 million. The total pay-offs to core staff at the 17 main central Government departments was £290 million. The Cabinet Office figures also highlight the same Whitehall departments also paid out £505 million on consultants and short-term staff.
PoliticsThe Sentinel, 16th August 2013
 
Almost one in five children who use social networking sites suffered a negative experience last year, research by children’s charity the NSPCC shows. This included bullying, unwanted sexual messages, cyber stalking and feeling pressure to look a certain way. The NSPCC also said a “large number” of users of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were under the minimum age of 13.
Social IssuesThe Sentinel, 12th August 2013
 
The value of UK workers’ wages has suffered one of the sharpest falls in the European Union, House of Commons library figures have shown. The 5.5 per cent reduction in average hourly wages since mid-2010, adjusted for inflation, means British workers have felt the squeeze more than those in countries which have been rocked by the eurozone crisis, including Spain, which saw a 3.3 per cent drop over the same period, and Cyprus, where salaries fell by three per cent in real terms.
MoneyThe Sentinel, 12th August 2013
 
More than 1,000 two-year-olds in Staffordshire are in line to receive free nursery education this year. The deal – which sees each child receive 15 hours of free early education with nursery, playgroup or childminder – will be offered to around 1,400 two-year-olds from September. Parents on certain benefits, or with an income below £16,000-a-year, are likely to be eligible. The same deal is being offered to 920 two-year-olds in Stoke-on-Trent.
FamilyThe Sentinel, 12th August 2013
 
16-17 year olds will be obliged to attend school for the first time this year. Young people who were in Year 11 last academic year are required to stay in compulsory education for one more year. Those who were in Year ten or below last year will be required to stay until they are 18.
EducationYouthwork, September 2013
 
More than 100 teenagers became homeless in Stoke-on-Trent in the last year. The number of homeless 16 and 17-year olds requesting accommodation in the city increased from 90 in 2011/12 to 117 in 2012/13 – a 30 per cent rise.
Young PeopleThe Sentinel, 6th August 2013
 
The repeated stereotyping of dads as ‘lazy or stupid’ on TV shows, adverts and in books has been criticised by a new survey, it was reported in mid-June. Online parents group, Netmums, quizzed 2,000 people and nine out of ten said the portrayal of dads was flawed. Almost half of parents polled slammed books, adverts and children’s TV shows like Peppa Pig, The Simpsons and the Flintstones which shows dads as lazy and stupid. Almost a third of parents claimed there is a very subtle form of discrimination against dads. A further 18% were more strident, saying it makes children believe that dads are useless from an early age and there would be an outcry if it was done against mums.
MediaEvangelicals Now, August 2013
 
Research published from the University of Illinois, part funded by the John Templeton Foundation, examined the relationship between religion and happiness. If religious people are indeed happier than non-religious people, difference in thinking style may explain why. The analysis of almost two million text messages from16,273 Twitter users revealed that Christians express more happiness than atheists in everyday language. The results show a positive correlation between religion and happiness. Furthermore, religious people have stronger social connections that promote positive well-being, whereas atheists engage in a more analytical thinking style that can impinge on personal well-being.
Religion/SpiritualityEvangelicals Now, August 2013
 
The number of homeschooled children in the US has increased by 75% since 1999, according to a report published in Education News on May 21. According to the report, discrepancies in achievement between sexes, income level and ethnicity are non-existent in home-schooling.
EducationEvangelicals Now, August 2013
 
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