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Court rejects North West council's compensation battle

Judges have ruled that a seven year old girl left brain damaged after her mother's heavy drinking during pregnancy is not entitled to compensation.

The Court of Appeal rejected a case brought by a council in the North West which pays for the girl's care.

She has a range of health and learning difficulties and requires specialist support.

Critics say this case would have set a dangerous precident of criminalising women's behaviour.

This report from our correspondent Elaine Willcox:

North West council fails in pregnancy drink compensation battle

Credit: Press Association

A young child is not entitled to criminal injuries compensation after her mother drank excessively while pregnant, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Three appeal judges unanimously ruled: "The central reason is that we have held that a mother who is pregnant and who drinks to excess despite knowledge of the potential harmful consquence to the child of doing so is not guilty of a criminal offence under our law if her child is subquently born damaged as a result."

The ruling was a blow to a local authority from the North West which had fought the compensation battle on behalf of CP, now aged seven, who suffers with learning, development, memory and behaviour problems.

If the appeal had succeeded it could have paved the way for pregnant women's behaviour to be criminalised, according to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) and Birthrights.

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Ruling expected on drinking mum case

Drinking mother case in court Credit: PA images

A ruling is expected on a landmark case which could pave the way for women who drink whilst pregnant to be prosecuted.

A council in the North West which can't be named for legal reasons is seeking compensation for a girl born with serious health issues from her mothers drinking. The girl who is now 7 was born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which can cause growth and facial abnormalities and intellectual impairment. The authority argue a crime was committed against her before she was born. If the Court of Appeal agree is could pave the way for prosecutions against pregnant women who drink.

Critics argue this could deter mothers from seeking help for fear of arrest and will put health professionals in an impossible position.

Millions to be spent on North West roads

Schemes to improve the roads in the region Credit: Department of transport

More than 80 new road schemes have been announced by the Government as it outlined how it would spend an already-promised £15 billion on English motorway and trunk routes over the next five years.

In the North West:

  • Improving links to the Port of Liverpool, as part of a plan of 12 projects designed to improve access to major international gateways;
  • Completing the smart (lane increasing) motorway along the entire length of the M62 from Manchester to Leeds,
  • Improvements to transpennine capacity from Manchester to Sheffield, the first increase in transpennine capacity since 1971.

"For too long, our road network has been a source of frustration, not growth. There are whole regions of our country that are unable to reach their full potential.

"To build a stronger, fitter economy in Britain, where every region can thrive, we need to change that - giving our regions' most strategic roads the serious investment and attention they deserve.

"Past governments have done it for the South East. I want to do it for the rest of the country."

– Nick Clegg

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Rent at 'all time high' claim letting agents

Rents have eased slowly up to reach an all-time record high as the rental market approaches its autumn peak. The average residential rent across England and Wales is now £761 per month. This is £3 higher than the previous record £758 set in October 2013 according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from the UK’s largest lettings agent networks, Your Move and Reeds Rains.

In the North West the rise was 3.3% which was higher than London's price hike.

“Autumn is when more people move to take up new opportunities, to build new careers and to start new chapters. That is what the rental market is all about for many people by providing flexibility and it’s what it does well – at a cost that’s risen in line with inflation for at least half a decade. “No year is the same, and already 2014 has been like no other. The reawakening of mortgage lending startled the property market into a new spring of life earlier in the year. The benefits have been felt across the board, not just for first-time buyers but for tenants too. Investment means rents are now only 1% higher in real terms than at the start of 2010.

– David Newnes, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, comments

Greater Manchester tops list for liver disease admissions

Greater Manchester tops the list in the North West Credit: PA

Greater Manchester tops the list in the region for hospital admissions for emergency hospital admissions for alcohol-related liver disease. The North West and the North East have the highest number of admissions in England according to a new map created by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). Death rates linked to alcohol-related liver disease have risen "considerably" over the last few decades, according to the NHS The place with the highest rate of admissions was Greater Manchester where 45.8 people out of every 100,000 living in the region were admitted as an emergency. In Merseyside there were 41.3 admissions per every 100,000 people and in Lancashire there were 38.9 admissions per 100,000 of the population. HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said: "This map paints a powerful picture of one of the many impacts that alcohol has on patients and the NHS in this country." Learn more here www.hscic.gov.uk.

North West amongst worst for liver disease admissions

The North West has some of the highest hospital admission figures for liver disease according to a new map created by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). Health officials have mapped out the places in England which have the highest rates of people admitted to hospital as an emergency for alcohol-related liver disease. Death rates linked to alcohol-related liver disease have risen "considerably" over the last few decades, according to the NHS. Nationally hospitals admitted 10,500 cases of alcohol-related liver disease between April 2013 and March 2014, according to HSCIC. To see the map visit: www.hscic.gov.uk.

The map shows that the North West and North East have most admissions Credit: PA
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