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5 Dec

David Attenborough: collapse of civilisation is on the horizon

The collapse of civilisation and the natural world is on the horizon, Sir David Attenborough has told the UN climate change summit in Poland.

The naturalist was chosen to represent the world’s people in addressing delegates of almost 200 nations who are in Katowice to negotiate how to turn pledges made in the 2015 Paris climate deal into reality.

Recent studies show the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, and the top four in the past four years. Climate action must be increased fivefold to limit warming to the 1.5C scientists advise, according to the UN.

5 Dec

130,000 homeless children to be in temporary lodgings over Christmas

More than 130,000 homeless children will be living in temporary accommodation over the festive period in Britain, the equivalent of five youngsters in every school, according to estimates by the homelessness charity Shelter.

Nearly 10,000 of those will wake up on Christmas Day in bed and breakfasts, hotels or hostels where in many cases their family will have been put up in a single room, sharing bathrooms and kitchens with other residents.

4 Dec

Four million British workers live in poverty, charity says

More than 500,000 British workers have been swept into working poverty over the past five years, according to a report that shows the number of people with a job but living below the breadline has risen faster than employment.

In the latest sign that the link between entering work and making ends meet has become increasingly frayed in 21st-century Britain, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said that the number of workers in poverty hit 4 million last year, meaning about one in eight in the economy are now classified as working poor.

4 Dec

Ofsted condemns ‘disjointed’ special educational needs provision

The schools watchdog Ofsted has delivered a damning indictment of the education of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), warning that provision is “disjointed and inconsistent”, with thousands missing out on vital support to which they are entitled.

In her second annual report as chief inspector of England’s schools, Amanda Spielman drew attention to the plight of pupils with SEND, warning that diagnoses were taking too long, were often inaccurate and mental health needs were not supported sufficiently.

4 Dec

NHS hospitals treat soaring number of older people for drug misuse

Growing numbers of middle-aged and older people are ending up in hospital suffering serious mental health problems after taking drugs, new NHSstatistics reveal.

The number of people in England aged 45 and above admitted with a drug-related mental and behavioural disorder has soared 85% over the last decade.

28 Nov

Spending cuts breach UK’s human rights obligations, says report

Cuts to public services and benefits that disproportionately affect the least well-off, single parents and disabled people put the government in breach of its human rights obligations, a study for the UK equalities watchdog has found.

Echoing the recent findings of the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, the study concluded the scale of the cuts and their lopsided impact on the most disadvantaged were a policy choice, rather than inevitable.

28 Nov

Bank of England says no-deal Brexit would be worse than 2008 crisis

Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal would trigger a deep and damaging recession with worse consequences for the UK economy than the 2008 financial crisis, the Bank of England has warned.

Raising the stakes as Theresa May battles to win support in parliament for her Brexit deal, the central bank said that failure to reach a deal with Brussels – with no transition period to a new trading relationship – would spark an immediate economic crash.

20 Nov

Air pollution cuts two years off global average lifespan, says study

Air pollution cuts the average lifespan of people around the globe by almost two years, analysis shows, making it the single greatest threat to human health.

The research looked at the particulate pollution produced by the burning of fossil fuels by vehicles and industry. It found that in many parts of the worst-affected nations – India and China – lifespans were being shortened by six years.

20 Nov

Councils spent £160m on school transport for children with special needs – survey

Councils spent more than £160m last year on taxis and private hire vehicles to transport children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to and from school, according to a survey seen exclusively by the Guardian.

England’s county councils are warning that rising demand for SEND services is “creating budget risks” for local authorities, with school transport costs for children with special needs up by as much as 45% in some areas in the last four years.

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