THE TORY candidate for London mayor, Steven Norris, is taking over as chairman of Jarvis, one of the top firms to benefit from privatisation. Jarvis faces an investigation into its maintenance of the rails at Potters Bar, scene of a fatal crash last year.
Jarvis is involved in building and maintaining PFI schools, hospitals and roads. It is has grabbed a key role in London Underground's Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines.
Despite its appalling record, Jarvis this week unveiled profits of £33.7 million in the six months to September-a 77 percent increase on the same period last year.
Penalising the victims
PEOPLE ON benefits often have them stopped or reduced after receiving compensation for a crime. The Victim Support charity is calling for a review because these payments are supposed to be paid to ease pain and suffering and not to cover the cost of living.
Relatives of a murder victim are denied compensation if the dead person has a criminal record.
BSE on the increase again
THERE HAS been a sudden and worrying rise in the number of cattle with the BSE 'mad cow' disease. This is just as a government-appointed committee is recommending lifting some of the controls meant to eradicate the disease. Rules banning animal feed made from animal remains and a ban on cattle over 30 months old being slaughtered for food were meant to be progressively ending the disastrous epidemic.
A fall in the number of BSE cases meant that in July the government's Food Standards Agency recommended that the 30 month rule be lifted. This was after pressure from beef producers.
But this week an official report showed a surge in BSE in cattle born after the feed restrictions were imposed. There have been eight cases in the last three weeks and 49 in the last year.
Locking up the innocent
AROUND 12,000 innocent people were held in jail for months at a time last year, according to a shocking report from the Prison Reform Trust this week. Government figures show that 11,742 people were jailed 'on remand' while awaiting trial in 2002. They were found not guilty or had court proceedings against them dropped.
Most of these innocent people received little or no compensation despite being jailed for an average of two months in often shocking conditions. The report also found that on average 72 remand prisoners harm themselves each month, and last year 36 committed suicide while in custody.