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'No chance' drugs will be legalised, government say

The Tories say there is "no chance" drugs will ever be legalised. Credit: PA

There is "no chance" drugs will be legalised following a report which states tougher laws have no effect on substance misuse, the government say.

A Liberal Democrat report claims it is "pointless" punishing drug users and more time should be spent on cracking down on criminal gangs who traffic drugs than addicts

But in a statement Number 10 said: "This report provides no support whatsoever for the Lib Dem's policy of decriminalisation. In fact, it clearly states that it would be inappropriate to draw those kind of conclusions.

"The Lib Dem policy would see drug dealers getting off scot-free and send an incredibly dangerous message to young people about the risks of taking drugs

"As the report makes very clear, the Government's approach already provides a good balance between enforcement and treatment, drug use is plummeting as a result and there is simply no chance that we will entertain such a reckless change of course ."


Making waves - new ship simulation facility

A maritime centre in Oxfordshire has launched the world's 'most sophisticated' ship simulator.

The marine modelling facilities will help engineers to improve the design of ships and structures such as oil rigs. HR Wallingford's UK Ship Simulation Centre and the Fast Flow Facility are at Howbery Business Park in Oxfordshire.

The Fast Flow Facility is a 75 m long, 8 m wide dual-channel flume which can hold a million litres of water, generate 1 metre high waves and produce fast tidal currents to simulate the way waves, tides, sediments and structures interact.

The new facilty features a 75 m long flume which can hold a million litres of water

"What makes the Fast Flow Facility unique is the way we can simulate sediment movement, big waves and fast tidal currents at the same time. No one else can do this, certainly not at such a large scale.

"We can now look at the way waves and currents move sediment on the seabed in deep water at a large scale, and understand what this means for fixed or floating structures such as marine terminals, offshore wind turbines, wave and tidal energy devices, telecommunication and power cables and pipelines. Modelling large structures and arrays without compromising on scale will help us to reduce uncertainty, optimise designs and more effectively minimise project risks for our clients during the very early stages of a project."

– Professor Richard Whitehouse, Technical Director of the Fast Flow Facility
Lord Heseltine launches new ship simulation facility

Brighton Pavilion MP's debate on drug laws on agenda

Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion MP, secured today's debate with cross-party backing Credit: MP's website

A debate on the UK's drug laws is to take place in Parliament later. Caroline Lucas, the MP for Brighton Pavilion, secured the discussion with cross-party backing and a petition which amassed 130,000 signatures.

Speaking ahead of the debate, the MP said:

“We all want a drugs policy that works. We want policies that reduce drug-related deaths and protect our children. Policies that rid our communities of the harms associated with drugs misuse and which ensure individuals get the help and support they need.

“But if we’re to have a drugs policy that does all of these things, then it has to be based on evidence.

“This debate is not about being for or against drugs reform. It’s about making sure we have the best possible laws based on the best possible evidence. It is the responsibility of every MP to be there to represent their constituents.”

– Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Pavilion, Green Party
Drug laws including those on the use of cannabis are being debated by MPs Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire


Father of Sarah Payne dies aged 45

Michael Payne was found dead at his home on Monday Credit: ITV NEWS

The children of Michael Payne, the father of murdered schoolgirl Sarah, have paid tribute to him following his death.

Mr Payne was found dead at his home in Kent on Monday. Police said they discovered the body of a 45-year-old man at a property in Brishing Lane, Maidstone. A Kent police spokesman said, "The death is not being treated as suspicious. A report will be prepared for the coroner."

Mr Payne had developed a drink problem after his daughter was abducted and killed in 2000. Michael Payne split from his wife Sara in 2003 after 18 years together, with both of them blaming the difficulties of coping with the tragic loss of their daughter.

His daughter Charlotte posted a picture of her father on Facebook alongside a message saying she was "heartbroken". She later added, "I'm sorry I couldn't save you dad. I hope you have finally found your peace and happiness."

Her brother Lee wrote, "Dad, you had your demons and troubles but you had a good heart and was a decent man! I hope now you have found peace at last! RIP, you will be missed. We are all heartbroken."

  1. National

Michael Payne's children 'heartbroken' over his death

Credit: PA

The children of Michael Payne, father of murdered schoolgirl Sarah, have described their heartache after he died on Monday.

The 45-year-old was found dead at his Kent home. His family said he had developed a drink problem after the tragic loss of Sarah in 2000.

His daughter Charlotte wrote on Facebook: "No matter what happened and how many mistakes we all made. You will always be my daddy.

"I'm sorry I couldn't save you dad. I hope you have finally found your peace and happiness."

Her brother Lee said: "Dad, you had your demons and troubles but you had a good heart and was a decent man! I hope now you have found peace at last! RIP, you will be missed. We are all heartbroken."

Michael Payne split from wife Sara in 2003 after 18 years together with both blaming the difficulties of coping with the loss of their daughter.

At the time Mrs Payne, who is now a child protection campaigner, said: "We know we're not the same people we once were - and everyone knows the awful reason why."

Schoolboy meets helicopter crew who saved his life

A schoolboy who hit his head in a playground accident in Crawley and had to be airlifted to hospital has met the helicopter crew that saved his life.

Harvey Tagorti was placed in an induced coma and became the first paediatric patient to use the new helipad at St George's Hospital in London.

Dr Matt Davenport from the Air Ambulance, thanked the people of Kent, Sussex and Surrey, for their part:

Thames Water settles council tax bills after flooding

Thames Water, through their Loss Adjuster, have confirmed their undertaking to pay council tax bills for the flooded properties in Normandy Crescent until displaced residents are able to move back into their homes. The company’s Loss Adjuster informed the City Council that payments will be made directly to the Council’s Revenues and Benefits service to cover council tax liabilities for all affected properties from 22 September until 1 January 2015.

This position will be reviewed at the end of this year and further payments will be made, if required. For residents who have moved into temporary accommodation with higher council tax bills than the sum that they are liable for in respect of their main residence in Normandy Crescent, Thames Water will settle the difference.

Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, says: “The past couple of weeks will have been a traumatic experience for everyone affected by flooding. “We welcome the confirmation by Thames Water through their insurer that they will settle council tax liability for the period of non-occupation of the Normandy Crescent dwellings.”

Stuart White, Thames Water spokesman, says: “There is no way customers should be paying their council tax bill twice in these circumstances, so having worked closely with the Council we are pleased to have now covered off this significant expense until they are each able to move back home."

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