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Weather: Plenty of warm sunshine into the afternoon

Any early morning mist and fog will lift quite readily today, leaving plenty of warm sunshine into the afternoon.

Early morning mist will lift and most place will enjoy sunshine. Credit: Met Office

Rain will start to move into the northwest through the morning, with heavy pulses arriving here late afternoon and the winds will strengthen too.

It will feel warm in the long sunny spells, with highs of 20 or 21 degrees Celsius (68 or 70 F).

Plans to 'speed up' adoption will be in Queen's Speech

Measures to speed up the adoption process will be outlined in the Queen's Speech. Credit: Lukas Coch / AAP/PA Images

Plans to force councils to merge services in order to speed up adoption rates are to be announced in next week's Queen's Speech.

Adoption is "happening at too small and localised a scale", the Department for Education (DfE) said, and mergers would increase the pool of potential adopters, reducing waiting times.

Official figures suggest more than 3,000 children are waiting to be matched with new parents, with more than half having spent 18 months in care.

The proposed Schools and Adoption Bill will contain new powers to require local authorities to merge if they do not do so themselves within two years.

Every single day a child spends waiting in care for their new family is a further delay to a life full of love and stability. This just isn't good enough.

By coming together and joining forces, councils can make sure more children are matched with families far quicker - regardless of where they live.

– Children and families minister, Edward Timpson

The Government said it would encourage town halls to set up their own mergers or outsource services to a single regional agency, while they will also be offered financial support to establish regional services.


Council cuts leading to 'scaled back CCTV coverage'

The British Security Industry Authority has estimated there are up to six million CCTV cameras in the UK. Credit: Stephen Rafferty / Eye Ubiquitous/PA Images

Councils are scaling back on the use of CCTV cameras in an attempt to cut costs, a surveillance watchdog has warned.

Tony Porter, the surveillance camera commissioner, said he was concerned about local authorities cutting back on monitoring cameras because it could make it more difficult for police to detect and investigate crime.

He added that town halls could face greater scrutiny of their use of CCTV, including potential inspections and enforcement.

Mr Porter, who is due to give the findings of a review into standards to the Home Secretary this autumn, has written to council chief executives to remind them of the law and code of practice.

He told the Independent: "There are an increasing number of examples where councils and employees are citing a lack of money as being the rationale to reduce the service or completely change its composition - and that does concern me. Because CCTV isn't a statutory function, it is something a lot of councils are looking at.

"Most people recognise the utility of CCTV for supporting law enforcement. To degrade the capacity may have an impact on police. It may well be that they will find it increasingly difficult to acquire the images that will help them investigate crimes."


Government targets six-figure public sector payoffs

The Government will announce plans to curb public sector payouts in the Queen's Speech. Credit: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The Government is ready to act to end six-figure "golden parachutes" for high-earning public sector bosses who are made redundant.

The Queen's Speech next week will include legislation to enact the Conservatives' general election manifesto pledge to cap the amount public sector employees can receive if they lose their jobs.

Chancellor George Osborne said "it was not fair that hard-working people see taxes used for these massive payouts for people who leave the public sector."

According to officials, more than 1,800 public sector employees received pay-offs of more than £100,000 in 2013.

The Government will consult on the detail - including whether it will cover the BBC - but ministers are said to be "minded" to set the cap at £95,000.

Eurovision hopefuls gear up for grand final in Austria

This year's Eurovison contest is taking place at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna.

All of the finalists for the 2015 Eurovision competition are now in place and prepared to battle it out for the coveted title in tonight's live grand final.

This year's contest, which is taking place at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna, is being hosted by Austrian trio Mirjam Weichselbraun, Alice Tumler and Arabella Kiesbauer.

Last year's winner, Conchita Wurst, will present coverage from the green room with contestants backstage.

There are 27 finalists this year - first up is Slovenia and the final act of the night is Italy.

The UK's entry this year, which comes from Electro Velvet and is called Still In Love With You, will be fifth on stage.

Notable absentees this year include Ireland, who despite being the competition's most successful country with seven wins under their belt, failed to qualify in the second semi-final.

In the UK, the results from the televised grand final on BBC One at 8pm will be voiced by TV chef Nigella Lawson.

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