The Weekend Press Round-Up


The BBC reports that London boroughs have the power to penalise home owners who leave properties empty, yet they aren’t using them.

“Councils are empowered to use the Empty Homes Premium to charge home owners 50% extra council tax if they leave properties empty for two or more years.

“Yet Freedom of Information requests to all 32 London boroughs discovered that seven councils did not apply the charge to a single property.

“There are currently more than 80,000 empty homes in the capital.”

Not press as such, but this piece by an ex-Islington care worker on historic child abuse claims is worth reading;

“I have struggled to get such cases investigated for many years and got nowhere. I want to know the reason for that. I want to know who was responsible for shredding my files on 61 child victims which were unavailable to the Inquiries. I want to know why so many of the Islington staff who supported the abusers and colluded in the cover ups went on to senior social work posts. I do not know who the 32 social services staff were that, following the Inquiry, were not allowed to work with children but I have certainly located two members of staff who tried to protect children, found their names on the list and were unable to continue their careers. I want to know how such an injustice could happen to good people and no-one be brought to task over it. Only recently I obtained a report of an Inquiry to which I had presented evidence. Nothing of my 4 hour contribution featured in it. The authors of that Inquiry need to be called to account.”

The Islington Tribune raises concerns that the News of the World may have hindered the investigation into Daniel Morgan’s murder in 1987;

Mr Cook claims that shortly after he appeared on Crimewatch to appeal for information into the killing he was put under surveillance by the paper. It claimed it was trying to back up a tip-off that he was having an affair with Jacqui Hames, the Crimewatch presenter. But Mr Cook was at the time married to Ms Hames.

“They were trying to undermine me, undermine the investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan. It’s as simple as that,” Mr Cook told the BBC.

The Barnet Times has some nice coverage of those calling for the borough’s Mayor to resign;

Tirza Waissel, who organised the demonstration outside Hendon Town Hall, in The Burroughs, on behalf of BAPS, said: “He’s meant to be the face of our community, and he’s totally abused his power.

“He’s milking it by overcharging poor, helpless tenants. There’s no justification for it. It’s just plain unfair.

“At a time where there’s a lot of uncertainty about housing – this shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

They brandished placards bearing the words: “no morality in Rayners mayorality” and “shame on you Hugh Rayner”.

The Waltham Forest Guardian reports a worrying spike in attacks on paramedics;

A Freedom of Information Act request by the [WF] Guardian has revealed there were no recorded assaults on ambulance staff in 2011 and just one in 2012.

However, in 2013 there were 17 attacks and there have already been eight this year. Records show there were five attacks in May alone.

The Camden New Journal‘s Gulliver has cricket reminisances about the late campaigning journalist Paul Foot;

[Foot] was loudly cheering on the great West Indian batsman Lawrence Rowe, so loudly that writer and black activist Darcus Howe, sitting near him, was taken aback.

“Paul was on his feet, so excited I thought he was born in Kingston,” Darcus told nearly 1,000 people in Logan Hall, Bloomsbury, on Saturday, who had gathered to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Paul’s death.

Darcus’s mother had wanted him to post to her a bit of turf as a memento but fearing he would be thrown out, he turned to the rather white man sitting next to him.

“I said to him ‘you are a white fellow, see if you can do that for me’.

“He got the grass. I put it in my pocket and with that began a political relationship.”

The Ham and High ask Hampstead community activist Janine Griffis the searching questions;

Q: If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say? A: Great life, good fertiliser.