Morning news digest - Council to charge for Christmas tree collections, men in hospital after car crashes into garden and police want to speak with man who was seen with young girl in supermarket

Preston Council has been accused of Scrooge behaviour for charging families 5 for getting rid of Christmas trees.
Preston Council has been accused of Scrooge behaviour for charging families 5 for getting rid of Christmas trees.

Catch up with all the news from Lancashire and across the country here with our morning roundup.

Bah humbug! Council slammed as ‘Scrooges’ for Christmas tree collection charge

Preston Council has been accused of ‘Scrooge’ behaviour for charging families £5 for getting rid of Christmas trees.

Officers at the Town Hall have proposed the “nominal” charge for certain residents, but objectors say the new rules are not in the Christmas spirit.

Earlier this year, the authority introduced a charge for garden waste bins to be collected, and the new payment applies to anyone not in that scheme, or who doesn’t put their tree in the brown bin. Preston Council is the only authority in the area to introduce the Christmas tree collection fee.

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Police want to speak with man who was seen with young girl in supermarket

Detectives are appealing for information to trace a man after an incident in Colne.

Police want to speak to the man after he was seen with a five year old girl in the Asda store in Corporation Street at about 1-30pm yesterday.

The girl was with her mother who lost sight of her for a short time before seeing her with the man.

He is described as white, dark hair, late teens, wearing a checked jacket and tracksuit bottoms.

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Blackpool Vic ‘sorry’ after patient who died was not seen by doctor for three days

Hospital bosses have apologised to the family of a woman who died after she was not seen by doctors for three days – because they didn’t know she was there.

Patricia Fowler, 75, was admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with a broken arm but left on the cardiac ward because of a bed shortage. An internal report into the incident, seen by The Gazette, reveals how the grandmother developed two deadly infections because an administrative error meant her name was left off the consultants’ list of patients.

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Men in hospital after car crashes into garden

Three men were seriously injured when a car crashed into a tree and a garden wall. The white Vauxhall Corsa went off the road on The Avenue in Leigh and came to a stop in a garden.

The emergency services were called at 3.05am and police, paramedics and the fire service all attended. Three men were inside the car and firefighters cut off both the front and passenger rear doors to get them out.

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EU NATIONALS LIVING IN UK 'SHOULD BE GIVEN PERMANENT RESIDENCE'

European Union nationals living in the UK before the formal Brexit process is triggered should be allowed to remain in the country permanently, an expert panel has recommended.

Prime Minister Theresa May's refusal to agree the status of the nearly three million Europeans in the country unless the rights of Britons living on the continent are guaranteed is "morally wrong", according to an inquiry run by think tank British Future.

It called for the UK to "make the first move" to demonstrate "goodwill" as it embarks on its divorce negotiations.

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EX-FA CHIEFS URGE GOVERNMENT TO REFORM 'OUT OF BALANCE' ORGANISATION

Five former Football Association chiefs have urged the Government to reform the structure of the organisation, criticising its upper ranks as being "out of balance" and filled with "elderly white men".

The ex-bosses wrote to Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, claiming that the "well-meaning individuals" are "collectively unrepresentative of English society" and "under-qualified" to deal with the FA's role in modern football.

David Bernstein, David Davies, Greg Dyke, Alex Horne and David Triesman called for legislation to be passed, blaming the FA's "inability to reform and modernise in a fast-changing world".

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RAISING COUNCIL TAX TO COVER SOCIAL CARE COSTS 'WILL WORSEN POSTCODE LOTTERY'

Hiking up council tax bills to cover the social care funding black hole will increase the postcode lottery in provision, Theresa May was warned amid speculation she will back steep rises in the levy.

Experts have issued fresh warnings that the straining system could "topple over at any moment" leaving the poorest "living a squalid life".

The Prime Minister is reportedly preparing to allow tax precepts to be increased so local councils, which have suffered reductions in government grants totalling more than 40% since 2010, can claw in extra cash to cover the spiralling social care costs.

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OFFICIAL DEFINITION OF ANTI-SEMITISM TO BE ADOPTED TO TACKLE ANTI-JEWISH ATTACKS

Hatred towards Jews will be "called out" with the introduction of an official definition of anti-Semitism, Theresa May will vow.

Adopting an internationally-backed charity's analysis of what constitutes abuse is a "ground-breaking step" in the fight to tackle rising anti-Jewish attacks, the Prime Minister will say.

Mrs May will praise Israel for guaranteeing the rights of "people of all religions, races and sexualities" and say the Jewish state wants to "enable everyone to flourish".

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ONLY SIX LOCAL AUTHORITIES 'PASS TESTS FOR WHERE GRAMMAR SCHOOLS SHOULD BE'

Just six of the 152 local authorities in England "pass a series of sensible tests" for where grammar schools should be placed or expanded, a research body has found.

The Education Policy Institute tested areas against four criteria, which it called "consistent" with the "principles" laid out in the Government's "schools that work for everyone" consultation.

It looked for local authorities made up of a significant number of areas where new or expanded grammar schools would: not be to the detriment of pupils who do not attend the school; not undermine existing high performing non-selective schools; be in high demand from parents; and have enough pupils attending within a reasonable travel distance.

VALUE OF PRIVATELY-OWNED HOMES 'GROWS TO OVER £5.5 TRILLION FOR FIRST TIME'

The total value of the UK's privately-owned homes has grown to over £5.5 trillion for the first time, according to estimates.

Using data from a range of sources, Halifax calculated that the total value of privately-owned housing stock has grown by £1.9 trillion since 2006, to reach an estimated £5.6 trillion.

The 51% increase in the value of housing stock seen over the past decade is faster than the retail price index measure of inflation, which has risen by 33% during the period, Halifax said.

REGULATOR URGED TO PROBE CLAIMS SOUTHERN 'AXED TRAINS DESPITE CREW AVAILABILITY'

The rail regulator is being urged to launch an investigation into claims that Southern Railway cancelled trains, blaming staff shortages, when drivers and guards were available to work.

Union leaders accused the company of "deliberate sabotage" and called for action by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Southern, which strongly denied the allegation, is taking a legal case to the Court of Appeal on Monday in a bid to stop strikes by drivers this week and in the new year which will halt all its services.

NHS 'SENDING ENGLISH EATING DISORDER PATIENTS TO SCOTLAND DUE TO BED SHORTAGES'

Eating disorder patients in England are being sent to Scotland by the NHS because of bed shortages, it has been reported.

Most of the patients are said to be teenagers and young adults who have been transferred hundreds of miles from home into residential care units in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Campaigners have voiced grave concerns that the practice is adding pressure to vulnerable patients already in a "life-threatening situation".

STUDENTS FROM UNDER-PRIVILEGED BACKGROUNDS 'EARN LESS AFTER GRADUATION'

Students from under-privileged backgrounds earn almost 10% less than the most advantaged, six months after graduating in the same subject, research shows.

A study by Deloitte said the highest gap in pay was 15% for law graduates and over 13% for those who took degrees in computer science and social studies.

The business advisory firm said the least advantaged students could earn slightly more in professions such as medicine and dentistry.

UK HOLDS TIES WITH FOUR OF THE WORLD'S WORST CORPORATE TAX HAVENS, SAYS OXFAM

The UK holds ties with four of the world's worst corporate tax havens, according to a study by Oxfam.

The charity has pinpointed Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Jersey and the British Virgin Islands as serious offenders when it comes to offering unproductive tax incentives and extremely low corporate tax rates.

It warned that the UK risked losing its reputation "as a global force for good" if it failed to tackle tax avoidance on overseas territories and crown dependencies.