Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Article excerpt

* Nine areas haw been given special government funding with the aim of becoming 'healthy towns' under a plan by ministers to combat obesity. Dudley, Halifax, Sheffield, Tower Hamlets in London, Thetford in Norfolk, Middlesbrough, Manchester, Tewkesbury and Portsmouth will share a £30m allocation. The areas will provide equivalent funding to develop schemes related to cycling, walking, healthy eating and green spaces. Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: Obesity is the biggest health challenge we face. Each town has come up with innovative ways to help their residents to be more active/ The healthy towns are part of the Change4Life campaign, involving community groups, supermarkets, the media and charities in efforts to help people eat more healthily and be more active.

* More than 1,5OO chHdran aged four and under were suspended from schools in England in the past year, according to official statistics. Some 580 five-year-olds, 300 four-year-olds and 120 three-year-olds were given fixed-term exclusions for attacking another pupil, the main reason for suspensions, according to figures obtained by the Conservatives. Permanent exclusions, however, continue to decline, down to 980 from 1,540 in 1997. Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the rise reflected teachers' fears about restraining violent pupils. The culture we have in our schools now means that every time they lay hands on a child to restrain them from hurting themselves or others, they put their jobs on the line/ he said.

* Bristol has been named the UK's most sustainable city by the charity Forum for the Future. The table is based on 13 indicators in three areas: environment, quality of life and future-proofing. Brighton, top of the table last year, has been relegated to second place ahead of Plymouth, Newcastle and Cardiff. …

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