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Listen to Sarah Anderson's argument for foster carers having employment rights

Would Councils be able to afford giving Foster parents employment rights? Sarah Anderson is taking her battle to court.

Should foster carers be given workers' rights?

They dedicate their lives to looking after children - often in very challenging circumstances. Being a foster carer is a 24 hour job, but despite this carers have no workers' rights.

According to a survey - carried out by the Fostering Network - more than 50 per cent of foster carers felt their allowance did not cover the full cost of looking after fostered children.

Watch the debate here.

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Foster carer in landmark case for employment rights

Sarah Anderson Credit: IWGB

Carer Sarah Anderson and the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain (IWGB) argue that people who foster children should be entitled to holiday pay, among other rights.

If successful the case could open the doors for thousands of foster care workers in the UK to have employment rights recognised.

The IWGB will today submit an employment status and unpaid holiday claim against Hampshire County Council. The union will argue that as a result of the relationship between Anderson and the council, she should be considered a worker and entitled to rights, including holiday pay.

Foster care workers in the UK, while they are paid by local councils, agencies or charities to look after children, are not recognised as workers nor employees.

As foster care workers we are exploited, have no rights whatsoever and are treated as a disposable workforce, when society needs carers more than ever. We can't advocate or look after our children properly if our rights aren't recognised and protected.”

– Sarah Anderson
Sarah Anderson and husband Tim Credit: IWGB

But the IWGB has started to challenge the traditional employment status of carers. In June, in a case brought by the IWGB in Scotland, a Glasgow employment tribunal recognised two foster carer workers as employees under Scottish law

While in a previous case the Court of Appeal ruled that foster care workers could not be recognised as workers, as they do not have contracts, the IWGB will argue that this case is different on the facts and that under European law contracts are not necessary to establish an employment relationship.

Many foster care workers are highly qualified, put in very long hours, are rigidly supervised and have foster care as their main source of income

This case is not about whether or not foster care is a form of work – that ship has sailed – this case is whether those workers should be entitled to the employment rights the rest of us take for granted.

– Dr Jason Moyer-Lee.WGB General Secretary
  1. Derek Johnson

Harbour plans divide opinion

Plan for a new half-billion pound harbour scheme have been revealed for Sussex. Hastings seafront would be changed hugely by the scheme. The council will submit it for formal planning permission later this month, but as Derek Johnson says, not everyone is convinced.

His report contains interviews with Stuart Hamilton a fisherman, with Andrew Doyle from Hastings Harbour Quarter Ltd, and Cllr Peter Chowney the leader of Hastings council.

Work on region's biggest exhibition centre reaches half-way point

Work on what will become Hampshire's biggest building - is at its halfway stage. The new exhibition centre will hold 10,000 people. It's being built as part of the Farnborough Airshow facilities. It's costing £30 million and is a joint partnership between the councils and the airshow organisers, who hope it will boost the local economy. Mike Pearse reports.

Hundreds attend second Lexicon jobs fair

Credit: ITV Meridian

It has been years in the making and next month Bracknell's new, state of the art, shopping centre will finally open.

Today hundreds turned out at a jobs fair looking for work at the Lexicon.

It's the second one to be held with the first attracting more than 2,000 people.

But the Lexicon is just one part of the massive town centre make over.

As Mel Bloor reports.

Mel spoke to Rob Morris, General Manager of The Lexicon and Cllr Marc Brunel-Walker from Bracknell Forest Council, Con.

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Oxford opens its first ever gin distillery

Credit: ITV Meridian

Once dismissed as an old fashioned drink, gin has seen an extraordinary rebirth in recent years with sales rocketing in bars and supermarkets alike.

Last year, 40 million bottles were sold in Britain - that's enough to make more than one billion gin and tonics.

Credit: ITV Meridian

Its surge in popularity has led to a dramatic rise in the number of gin makers setting up business.

Bombay Sapphire opened its distillery in Whitchurch three years ago and now Oxford has its first ever distillery.

Mel Bloor went along to find out more.

Mel spoke to Tom Nicolson, Founder of The Oxford Artisan Distillery, George Bennett from Sandy Lane Farm and Master Distiller, Cory Mason.

£60 million Cowley development plan gets go-ahead

The heart of Cowley will be transformed Credit: Redwood Consulting

Oxford City Council has approved NewRiver’s plans for the £60 million development of Templars Square in Cowley.

NewRiver REIT plc (‘NewRiver’), the owners of the shopping centre and site, will deliver a major mixed-use regeneration designed in collaboration with Corstorphine & Wright Architects. The proposed plans will revitalise the heart of Cowley and improve the retail and leisure experience for shoppers and the wider local community.

The proposals will preserve the much-loved existing Templars Square shops, while bringing forward a range of significant improvements to the area. These include the addition of a hotel; new restaurant units for leading national operators; new housing; a dramatically improved streetscape and pedestrian routes; upgraded and modernised car parking; and new feature entrances.

Around 60 new jobs will be created, alongside 300 construction jobs.

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