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Friday, October 14, 2005

Government over online casinos

Extending right to buy
Up to 300,000 council and housing association tenants will be given the chance to buy a share in their home under plans unveiled by the deputy prime minister, John Prescott. He also announced that a further 80,000 families would be helped to get a foot on the property ladder by 2010. Under the "first-time buyer initiative," thousands of new "affordable" homes - possibly costing as little as £60,000 - will be built, initially on land owned by the government and its agencies. The plans are at the heart of the government's new five-year housing strategy aimed at enabling more people to get a home of their own. For the opposition, Caroline Spelman accused the government of presiding over a housing crisis spiralling out of control and of putting home ownership out of the reach of a whole generation of young people.

Canning case
The government insisted that solicitor Angela Cannings, whose conviction over the deaths of two of her children was quashed on appeal, should not get financial compensation. But Home Office minister Lady Scotland conceded that this had been "a very difficult decision". Her murder conviction was quashed when medical evidence against her from paediatrician Professor Sir Roy Meadow was discredited.

Incapacity benefit
A pilot scheme to help people on incapacity benefit return to work by placing employment advisers at GPs' surgeries was defended by the government. The work and pensions secretary, Alan Johnson, in a light-hearted question time response to criticism from Tory Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, insisted they would not interfere with doctors' work.