“14 MPs turn up to discuss UN report on 14 million people living in poverty”

“The UN’s report on poverty in Britain is at risk of being swept under the carpet after just 14 MPs turned up to debate the issue in parliament yesterday.”

https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/14-mps-turn-up-to-discuss-un-report-on-14-million-people-living-in-poverty/08/01/

Meanwhile for the debate on increasing MPs pay:

“Sixty-four-metre ‘fatberg’ discovered in English seaside resort” [Sidmouth]

[The article has a particularly gruesome picture of the fatberg!]

Owl wonders if this sort of thing will increase or decrease when the luxury PegasusLife elderly housing facility replaces EDDC’s Knowle HQ!

“Eight weeks needed to remove mass of fat, oil and wet-wipes from sewer in Sidmouth, Devon.

A block of hardened fat, oil and wet-wipes longer than six double-decker buses has been discovered in a sewer metres from the sea in a popular Devon resort town.

It will take workers eight weeks to cut up and remove the 64-metre “fatberg” from the sewer beneath The Esplanade in Sidmouth.

South West Water is also planning to open a pop-up shop in the town to inform people about the unwanted visitor and to urge them not to “feed” fatbergs by pouring fat, oil, grease and wet-pipes into the system.

The company’s director of wastewater, Andrew Roantree, said: “It shows how this key environmental issue is not just facing the UK’s cities, but right here in our coastal towns.

“It is the largest discovered in our service history and it will take our sewer team around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging work conditions.

“Thankfully it has been identified in good time with no risk to bathing waters. If you keep just one new year’s resolution this year, let it be to not pour fats, oil or grease down the drain, or flush wet-wipes down the loo. Put your pipes on a diet and don’t feed the fatberg.”

South West Water says a fatberg forms like a snowball – wet-wipes flushed down toilets congeal with fats, oil and grease, gradually forming a hard mass. The removal, which will be carried out by workers in full breathing apparatus, is due to begin next month but could be delayed if there is heavy rain.

Nearby businesses will not be affected by the removal and The Esplanade will remain fully accessible.

The fatberg was discovered during routine checks.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/08/sixty-four-metre-fatberg-discovered-in-english-seaside-resort-sidmouth-devon

“”England ‘needs millions of homes to solve housing crisis’ “

“Three million new social homes must be built in England over 20 years to solve the “housing crisis”, a report says.

Housing charity Shelter says upfront costs of £11bn a year could come from housing benefit savings by moving tenants from high-cost privately rented homes to social housing. … ”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46788530

“Andrew Lansley law that forced hospitals to compete could be axed”

Note: this 10-year plan does not tackle the crisis in social care nor the bigger crises of not having enough staff for either service.

[Andrew Lansley’s 2012 act made local GP groups “customers” to buy services from competing hospitals]

“Implementing the new ten-year plan could involve the reversal of market-based reforms introduced in 2012 by the former health secretary Andrew Lansley.

More than 100 local bodies would be merged under proposals to move away from internal health service competition and make parts of the NHS work more closely together.

The request for new laws by Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, sets the government up for a battle in the Commons. The reversal of the reforms is also likely to prove embarrassing for the Conservatives. Labour has already demanded an apology for a “bureaucratic disaster” that it says wasted billions.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 made local GP groups “customers” to buy services from competing hospitals and other providers. It provoked opposition from health unions who said that it would fragment care. Senior Tories came to regard it as the coalition government’s biggest mistake.

Ministers will seek to present the changes as commonsense tidying up measures requested by the NHS. They hope that this will avoid a divisive political battle, but while opposition to privatisation was a key Labour objection to the act the party is unlikely to back a Conservative NHS reform.

In the ten-year plan Mr Stevens argues that there are too many NHS institutions working autonomously when they need to work together to join up care for patients. While arguing that his plan could be achieved in current structures, he said that changes to the law “would support more rapid progress”.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said: “We want to foster a culture of ambition and innovation in the way our health sector organises the services it delivers. I am prepared to make the changes necessary for this to become a reality, including changing the law.”

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said: “The fact NHS bosses are now proposing significant changes to the Health and Social Care Act confirms what a wasteful, bureaucratic disaster it was in the first place.”

Source: The Times (paywall)