THE BNFL nuclear company is on the verge of bankruptcy, and is appealing for a government bailout. The firm is state owned, but the government wants to press ahead with plans to privatise it.
BNFL is facing bankruptcy within weeks because of the mounting costs of bills to clean up ageing nuclear power stations. The firm's 11 ageing Magnox reactors are either already shut or being run down, and the cost for cleaning up the sites is spiralling. Already it is heading for an estimated £34 billion, and could hit as much as £60 billion.
Yet BNFL only has funds of £253 million after a series of financial problems. It is now asking the government to take on the clean-up bills.
Schools handed over
THE GOVERNMENT is to hand schools in Hackney in east London over to a 'not for profit' trust. All 70 schools in the London borough are to be handed to the trust by next summer.
The move is a retreat from earlier government threats to hand the borough's schools over to private profit making firms such as Nord Anglia. But it is still an attack on public education, and one which will do nothing to help the borough's children.
The trust is 'not for profit', but will make a 'surplus' to cover overheads and to service any loans. Unlike the council and education authority the board of the trust is unaccountable to local people. It will be appointed from 'local stakeholders'. A 'not for profit' trust has already been running schools in Liverpool, and has done nothing to improve education for the city's children.
TRANSPORT Secretary Stephen Byers claimed he was increasing government support for the London tube when he knew that in fact investment was being cut by 30 percent.
Letters leaked to the Guardian show that Byers' claim in June of 'doubling' the tube's government grant were wide of the mark. He claimed to have increased the grant from £104 million to £520 million. In fact, before the June election the government had promised the tube a £775 million grant, and management had already begun spending that pledged cash.
Tube bosses warned that the cut would mean that 'critical safety expenditure will be deferred.'
Loyalist terror attacks
TWO YOUNG girls were injured by shrapnel after Loyalist terror gangs threw a blast bomb on Monday. The eight year old and 11 year old girls were being treated in hospital after the attack in North Belfast.
The bomb, packed with jagged metal pieces, was designed to maim and kill. The latest attack is part of the continuing terror campaign by Loyalist paramilitaries, including the daily intimidation of Catholic children going to North Belfast's Holy Cross School.