Mother’s horror as surgeon who left her unable to speak or breathe after botched thyroid op is allowed to work again

Yet another “overseas trained” butcher

A mother-of-two who has been left breathing through a tube and barely able to speak after a routine operation went wrong has spoken of her horror that the surgeon is being allowed to work again.

Jo Roche, 43, from Bridlington, had surgery to remove the thyroid gland on her neck. But the operation, which took just 90 minutes rather than the recommended two or three hours, severely damaged nerves linked to her vocal cords.

She was left barely able to speak and the damage led to blockages in her airway. Six months later she had to undergo a complete tracheostomy to fit a tube through her neck and into her windpipe to allow her to breathe properly.

Mrs Roche, a healthcare worker, had to teach herself to talk again and said the ordeal in January 2008 had changed her life and that of husband David, 44 and their two children Calvin, 15, and Poppy, 13, permanently.

Speaking shortly after the operation, she told told the Bridlington Free Press: ‘Life’s hard, basically. The tracheostomy looks so ugly and there’s so much that I can’t do that I used to love, like swimming and singing with the kids.

‘I had to teach myself to talk again, but my voice is so quiet it’s hard to make myself heard. It’s changed my personality, I tend to just observe things now rather than speak up. Talking is difficult and takes a lot of energy.

‘The children can’t really remember how I used to speak. When they see old holiday videos they see me without the tube and realise they had forgotten what my voice was like. I have nieces and nephews who will never know.’

She added that she tires easily, is more prone to infections, and cannot enjoy many of the everyday things she loved.

Egypt-trained vascular and general surgeon Nayef El-Barghouty was suspended last year after a General Medical Council fitness to practise hearing found he had lied under oath to a coroner, and mistreated three patients including Mrs Roche.

Mr El-Barghouty, who worked at Scarborough Hospital for 15 years, was suspended in July 2011 for a year but a tribunal has since decided that he can work again when his suspension ends on Saturday.

A panel from the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service decided that Mr El-Barghouty can remain a registered practitioner once his 16-month suspension finishes. He will be subject to 21 strict conditions, which include no undertaking of thyroid surgery and four months of close supervision.

Earlier, Mr El-Barghouty was found to have lied on oath during an inquest, admitting giving ‘false and utterly misleading’ evidence about Wilfred Taylor, who bled to death in January 2009.

Mr Taylor, 84, had been due to have surgery on an aneurysm in his left leg, but Mr El-Barghouty operated at the wrong site, mistakenly tying off an artery. He was forced to carry out another corrective procedure which led to severe bleeding. Mr Taylor died during the third operation carried out on him in a day.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel hearing Mr El-Barghouty’s case said it still ‘remained concerned’ that he had ‘not yet fully accepted and adopted the principle that honesty is a fundamental tenet of the medical profession’ – after he had lied under oath to a coroner.

The panel heard evidence from his mentor Professor Al-Doori, who said that Mr El-Barghouty had been ‘slightly bitter’ about his suspension, and that he ‘had not discussed with him why he had been dishonest’.

But the panel was ‘impressed’ with testimonials and evidence it had seen and ‘believed that Mr El-Barghouty is a better person and doctor’.

Mr El-Barghouty, who has been working in Saudi Arabia during his suspension, will now be allowed to return to practice in the UK from December 29 as long as he abides by the 21 conditions for two years.

He will only be allowed to work in the NHS, must notify the GMC upon accepting any job, and remain under the supervision of an educational supervisor.

Commenting, the chair of the panel, Dr Vicki Harris, said: ‘[The panel] regards lying to a coroner as an extremely serious incident of dishonesty. The panel remains concerned that Mr El-Barghouty has not yet fully accepted and adopted the principle that honesty is a fundamental tenet of the medical profession.’

She added: ‘We want to encourage anyone who has concerns about this doctor to contact the GMC straight away. They need to hear from people directly so they can investigate these cases.’

Mrs Roche said in response to the panel’s decision: ‘I was hoping and praying that he would not be allowed to practice again but I guess I half expected it.

‘It would have been nice if he had been struck off – this just feels like a slap in the face for myself and other people.

‘I still have to live with the consequences everyday but he doesn’t – he can just pick up where he left off. There is no way that he should be allowed to work again.

I worry for other people. I know that anybody who knows me or knows him would never allow themselves into his care but if he moves out of the area then he will be able to do this again.

‘I know that I wouldn’t be suffering these difficulties if it wasn’t for him.’

Among other conditions, Mr El-Barghouty will not be able to work as a locum or work out-of-hours, or undertake thyroid surgery.

‘That is a little victory,’ she added. ‘He had carried out seven thyroidectomies in three years and two of us ended up with a tracheotomy. The odds of something going wrong should be one in 1000.

‘Still, you feel sorry for people living in a different area who do not know what he has done. ‘I believe that patients should have the right to see their surgeon’s record before having an operation. You can choose which hospital you go to, but we do not have the information on the surgeon.’

Other families in the area are also campaigning for the surgeon to be struck off for good.

Lisa Pickup and her sisters Sharon Pickup and Kerrie Smith have been collecting signatures in their home town of Scarborough, in a bid to keep Mr El-Barghouty off the GMC register following the death of their father Trevor in 2006 after a routine operation.

Miss Pickup said: ‘I know he won’t come back to Scarborough Hospital but he could get a job anywhere else in the NHS. I want people to be aware of him on a national scale.’

She added that the public response to their petition has been ‘unbelievable’, adding: ‘People were actually queuing up to sign the petition. It has been amazing.’ The Pickups’ case is currently under investigation by the GMC.

Back in July, a spokesperson for Scarborough Hospital said that while they could not discuss individual cases, ‘dependent on the individual circumstances, if an employment has been terminated it would be very unlikely that the staff member would be reappointed’.

A spokesperson this week said: ‘Mr El-Barghouty’s contract with the Trust was terminated in August 2011 following the outcome of the GMC Fitness to Practise hearing. As he is no longer employed by the Trust it would not be appropriate for us to comment further.’


Extra 20,000 foreign workers could head to the UK

More than 20,000 foreign workers from outside the EU could flock to Britain to replace Romanian and Bulgarian fruit pickers who will be tempted by better jobs when work restrictions are lifted next year (Dec 2013).

The new wave of overseas workers should be allowed to come from countries including Ukraine, Moldova and Croatia, despite 2.51 million unemployed people in the UK, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said. Unemployed Britons tend to be based in cities and few are interested in short-term, seasonal work on farms in rural areas, they added.

The Romanians and Bulgarians picking fruit and harvesting crops are expected to drop their tools and head to the cities for what is seen as easier low-skilled work in better conditions in bars and restaurants when restrictions on where they can work are lifted at the end of next year (2013).

Farmers want to clear the way for thousands of other foreign workers from outside the EU to take their place for up to six months at a time, picking strawberries, potatoes and cauliflowers for the supermarket shelves.

Hayley Campbell-Gibbons, chief horticultural adviser for the NFU, said: “Without those 21,500 workers we simply won’t have enough people here to pick crops. “In the past there have been years where we simply haven’t been able to get enough workers – not on that scale, but by a few thousand – and the result is that crops go unharvested and unpicked and food has to come in from elsewhere. “There have been shortages on the shelves. It’s not somewhere we want to go again.”

The Government’s immigration advisers are considering the impact on the UK and its seasonal workers on farms once restrictions are lifted and migrants from Romania and Bulgaria can take any job in the UK from January 1 2014.

Numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians living in the UK have already jumped from 29,000 to 155,000 since the two countries joined the EU five years ago, and one Conservative MP, Philip Hollobone, has predicted this could treble again to 425,000 within two years of the restrictions being lifted.

But the mandatory lifting of the work restrictions will also give the 21,500 Romanians and Bulgarians already in the UK under the seasonal agricultural workers scheme (Saws) the freedom to leave their labour-intensive jobs on farms.

Given the choice of picking fruit and having up to six months work or “more comfortable work in better conditions” in hospitality, catering, or care homes, Romanians and Bulgarians on the scheme are expected to leave “as soon as those restrictions are lifted”, Mrs Campbell-Gibbons said. “We suspect we may get some people return for one season, but then they’ll use our farms as a stepping stone into work elsewhere,” she said. We’ve seen that happen in the past.”

The industry has also faced difficulties attracting unemployed Britons to take the jobs, she added. “People in the UK have a preference for permanent work, as opposed to temporary; working outdoors, picking fruit, it’s unskilled work and it’s not seen as a very attractive prospect for the majority.

“Despite government aspirations to achieve it, it’s unrealistic to expect that you can just cut the workforce by 20,000 and expect that to be filled.”

One option would be to create a new scheme for students from anywhere in the world, or to restrict it to workers from countries looking to join the EU, such as the Ukraine, Moldova, or Croatia.

Martin Ruhs, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said: “The interesting question is, does the UK want to have jobs here that will mainly be done by people who cannot legally do any other jobs.

“If the argument is that this job will not be done by anybody who has free choice of employment, then I think there is a question about, ‘what is it about this sector and is it a good or bad idea for the UK in a way to be encouraging that?’ “It’s not a straightforward question.

“On the one hand you could say, ‘Well, the UK shouldn’t be in the business of promoting this very labour intensive farming and why not let the industry decline and we start importing?’

“The other argument is that there are many people who have a demand for British strawberries, and if it’s important to you to have British strawberries then obviously you need to find a way of keep producing them here, which means you need to find a way of providing labour to his sector.”

Dr Ruhs, who is also a member of the Migration Advisory Committee, said it would report on the future of the Saws scheme early next year. “Saws is one of the key issues that we’re looking at, absolutely,” he said.

“You could encourage a scheme that brings in non-EU workers from countries that have applied to be members of the EU in the future, or you could bring in countries from elsewhere.”

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “The Government has no current plans to introduce a replacement for the seasonal agricultural workers scheme after 2013, but we recognise the concerns of the agricultural sector and have asked the independent Migration Advisory Committee to look into this issue.”


Tally ho! Let the hunt remind us who we are

Hound, horse and human come together today in an activity as vital as our heartbeats, says Roger Scruton

This morning hundreds of hunts across the Kingdom will be assembling for the Boxing Day meet. My family and I will appear in our polished uniforms on polished horses to stand ceremonially among our neighbours in Cirencester Park. With us will be a crowd of thousands who have come to enjoy the spectacle. For an hour, three species – hound, horse and human; carnivore, herbivore and omnivore – will stand peacefully side by side in a little patch of meadowland, radiating tranquillity. One of the local bands will be playing. The Royal Agricultural College Beagles will be there, along with people from every walk of life, who have come to gladden their eyes on the spectacle before going for lunch in the town.

Hunting with hounds is ostensibly a crime. It continues, not because hunting people wish to defy the law, but because an activity so central to their lives can no more be stopped than their heartbeats. They have had to adjust. But they cannot live in the countryside without also sharing it with their animals.

I first encountered hunting in my early forties. It was quite by chance that I should be trotting down a Cotswold lane on a friend’s old pony when the uniformed centaurs came galloping past. One minute I was lost in solitary thoughts, the next I was in a world transfigured by collective energy. Imagine opening your front door one morning to put out the milk bottles, and finding yourself in a vast cathedral in ancient Byzantium, the voices of the choir resounding in the dome above you and the congregation gorgeous in their holiday robes. My experience was comparable. The energy that swept me away was neither human nor canine nor equine, but a peculiar synthesis of the three: a tribute to centuries of mutual dependence, revived for this moment in ritual form.

There is a singular and indescribable joy that comes from the co-operation between species. We go out together, a tribe, a herd and a pack, and move together in mutual understanding. We share dangers and triumphs, we are exhilarated and downcast simultaneously, and there grows between us a kind of unsentimental attachment that is stronger and deeper than any day-to-day companionship. This experience has been celebrated since ancient times. From the boar hunt that begins at line 428 of Homer’s Odyssey to the fox hunt that forms the climax of Trollope’s The Eustace Diamonds, hunting has been used to lift characters from their daily circumstances, and to place them in another predicament, which rouses their animal spirits and puts them to a very special kind of test. The wall of domesticity has been broken down, and we cross it to “the other side of Eden”, as the anthropologist Hugh Brody describes the world of the hunter-gatherer.

In that world, animals are not the tamed and subservient creatures of the farmyard or the family house; they are our equals, with whom we are joined in a contest that may prove as dangerous to the hunter as it is to his quarry. In the paintings that adorn the caves of Lascaux, we see the beasts of the wilderness portrayed by people who lived in awe of them, who conjured them into their own human dwelling place. The aura that emanates from these images emanates also from our hunting literature, reminding us that we too are animals, and we live with an unpaid debt towards the creatures from whom we have stolen the Earth.

In a sense we know much about the experience of the hunter-gatherer, since it is the experience that shaped us, and which lies interred like an archaeological stratum beneath the polished consciousness of civilised man. At its greatest, the art and literature of hunting aims to retrieve that experience, to re-acquaint us with mysterious and sacred things which are the true balm to our suburban anxieties, but which can be recuperated now only by returning, in imagination, to a world that we have lost.

In hunting you are following, and the thing you follow is a pack of hounds, which in turn follows a scent. Some follow on horseback and are part of the action; others follow by foot, bicycle or car. All are returning, to a certain extent, to a pre-agrarian condition. The landscape is being “thrown open” to its pre-historical use, and although the freedom taken by the hunt is at the same time a freedom offered by those with the power to forbid it, both parties to the deal are recapturing freedom of another and more deeply implanted kind. Hunting, which dissolves the boundaries between species, dissolves the boundaries between people too.

The thrill of jumping comes from this: you are abolishing the boundary that had vainly tried to exclude you. For a brief moment you are laying aside the demands of farming, and the man-centred individualism that farming engenders, and roaming across a landscape that has not yet been parcelled out and owned. The fields that I see from my window do not, for me, end at my boundary but stretch beyond it, to the place where the hounds of the Vale of White Horse hunt must be called off from the territory of the Old Berkshire, where “ours” becomes “theirs”, and the riot of followers must turn back.

That feeling of “ours” is expressed in many social events besides hunting: in fun rides, farmers’ breakfasts, hunt balls and point-to-points. Those events form part of an intricate web of social relations through which we join in the collective possession of our whole locality, and override our separate private claims. It is this sense of community that will bring us all together today, in order to renew our commitment to the place where we are.


Mother wins apology after council tries to take her disabled children away

A mother who spent a year fighting to stop social services taking her disabled twins into care after she was accused of making up a condition which made them unable to walk has won an apology from her local council.

Thomas and Daniel Bristow, both now three, are unable to walk because of a rare muscle disorder called hypotonia. But their mother Victoria Bristow said the council had never provided the help that she needed to look after them and after she asked for it repeatedly they tried to take the children away.

She said she was accused of making up their condition in order to obtain help with looking after them, and it was only after a year-long legal battle that the local authority backed down, in October this year.

Mrs Bristow said doctors had confirmed the boys were “permanently functionally disabled” but the council believed they would get better with a course of physiotherapy.

The 36-year-old, from Norwich, has now received an apology from Norfolk County Council but she said it was still failing to provide enough help for them. The former care worker said she was struggling after the birth of the boys in 2009, being poorly after suffering two major haemorrhages, and that the council were unable to provide any help.

When the twins were 14 months old and unable to stand up or even bear weight on their legs, Mrs Bristow and her husband Paul, who works in Norfolk council’s HR department, became concerned and saw doctors about their condition. “They have got low muscle tone which kind of means they are a bit like rag dolls,” she said. Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital said it was “a rare form of spinal muscular atrophy”.

She and her husband, 34, who suffers from arthritis, were struggling increasingly to carry them up and down the stairs. But she said the council had doubts about the condition.

“There was the thought that the boys’ disability was down to our parenting style somehow,” she said, explaining that they had been criticised for withdrawing the children from physiotherapy which was not helping.

Mrs Bristow said when an assessment finally took place social workers expressed concern that the children might be at risk, partly due to her mental health. She said she suffers from a mild form of depression. “The assessment concluded that due to my mental health and because they didn’t understand why the boys were disabled, they felt they were at risk of neglect, and needed to be taken into immediate foster care, with no plans for reuniting with us.”

The Bristows learnt of the conclusion in a letter delivered in October last year, and for a year lived with the fear that the boys would be taken away if the council obtained a court order. Mrs Bristow said she “was accused of trying to use their disabilities to gain services’ attention”.

“The idea is the parent makes up an injury to gain attention. They were accusing me of making up the boys’ disabilities. Actually, we hadn’t recognised the extent of their disabilities. They are very disabled little boys.”

She added: “I couldn’t bear the thought of losing my children so I researched the law and I fought like crazy.”

After months of delay, the case was concluded in her favour.

Mrs Bristow said: “We have never ever deliberately harmed them in any way at all.”

She said she now planned to support other families in similar situations.

Lisa Christensen, director of children’s services at Norfolk County Council, said it was not possible to “comment in detail” on cases involving children as the information was confidential. But she added: “I can say in general terms that social workers have a very difficult job to do and can justifiably be criticised if they fail to respond in cases where concerns have been raised.”

She also said that the council provided a “range of support” to disabled children but that in some cases there was a “difference of opinion between the parents and the agencies involved about the level and nature of services provided”. “In this case we have acknowledged and apologised for mistakes made and are anxious to work with the family in the interests of the children.”


Prof Dawkins should have a little faith in my guardian angel

Bringing up a child Catholic is worse than abusing it, according to Richard Dawkins – but where’s his evidence, asks Mary Kenny

A man is entitled to hold any opinion he chooses, and when Richard Dawkins states that being raised a Catholic is worse than child abuse he is free to say so. “Horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was,” he said the other day, “the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.”

But atheistic scientists such as Prof Dawkins are usually keen on asking for “evidence-based” data to back up opinions. There are more than a billion Roman Catholics globally, but Prof Dawkins rested his thesis on the experience of one person: a Protestant friend was told she would “roast in Hell” by some daft priest in America.

I dare say several events inflicted psychological damage in my childhood – being made to give away my doll’s house by an insistent aunt, not being able to afford a pony, not being sent to ballet school after reading Noel Streatfeild – all linger in the memory as childhood scars. Yet the form of Catholicism in which I was raised was basically warm-hearted; and I adored the rituals of our lovely Maytime processions, the sweet hymns to Our Lady and the general reassurance that my guardian angel would watch over me and I shouldn’t do anything to shame him.

Far from thinking Protestants would roast in Hell, we believed Protestants were often better than we were. They had a reputation for being honest in business and were charitable. We did pity them for one thing: Irish Protestants weren’t allowed to go to the pictures on Sunday.

There were abiding rules, based on the Ten Commandments, but there was also tolerance for “the sinner”, as the just man falls 77 times a day. You were told “judge not, that ye be not judged”; but if you steal, you must make restitution. You should never let the sun go down on your anger and if you’re having a rotten time, Offer it Up. None of this had a psychologically damaging effect on me, and I trust that Prof Dawkins will factor my witness, too, into any “evidence-based” future pronouncements.


British selective schools fuel house price rise: Town renowned for its schools sees biggest increase anywhere in the UK during 2012

Finding a good government school for your kid can be a desperate business in Britain

A town renowned for its grammar schools enjoyed a bigger rise in house prices this year than anywhere else in the UK, research revealed today. A ‘grammar school effect’ is said to be fuelling a buoyant property market in Southend-on-Sea, where average prices rocketed 14.8 per cent in 2012.

The Essex resort saw the steepest rise in selling prices of major UK towns and cities over the last 12 month, with homes now going for an average of £198,418, according to research by Halifax.

The town’s popularity is thought to have been boosted by its secondary schools, eight of which award some or all of their places according to ability in entrance tests.

Other UK towns which boast grammar schools and feature in the top 10 for house prices rises this year include Rochester, Dartford, Gillingham in Kent and nearby Bromley.

Robert McCartney, chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association, said applications to sit the 11-plus schools were increasing in many areas, particularly among families who are no longer able to stretch to private school fees.

‘With the credit crunch, a number of middle-class families who could, with a bit of a push, have afforded an independent school are now looking for an equally good education at a much reduced cost’, he said. ‘There is also no doubt that people are continuing to flee from poor comprehensive schools.’

Southend’s grammars were a ‘big attraction’ for families seeking high-performing schools within commuting distance to London, he said.

The town has four fully selective schools – two for boys and two for girls – and a further four which are partially selective, offering a proportion of their places on merit.

Mr McCartney added: ‘Some people are prepared to move from anywhere in the country to an area where their children can go to a grammar school. In three quarters of the UK there are no grammar schools.

‘Whether it is a grammar or a good comprehensive, all the evidence of the recent past is that people are buying houses in areas where they will be near good schools.’

Some 164 grammar schools remain in England, spread across 36 out of 150 local education authorities.

They are most plentiful in Kent, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Lincolnshire, Birmingham and parts of Surrey but large swathes of the country have none.

Mr McCartney said many areas which had held onto their grammars were places of relative wealth, where families were prepared to pay a hefty premium on property prices to be in the locality of top-performing schools.

Today’s table of house price gains and falls shows that three areas which are among the top five performers have grammars – Southend, Rochester and Dartford.

Most of the worst performing areas were located outside southern England.

The Northern Ireland town of Craigavon, in County Armagh, saw the biggest slump in prices, with a 18.4 per cent drop, while Wishaw, in North Lanarkshire, Scotland recorded a 12.5 per cent fall.

Chorley, Carlisle and the Wirral, all in northern England, made up the rest of the bottom five.


Supermarket meals healthier?

Cookery programmes featuring the likes of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson should not be shown before the 9pm watershed because their meals are so unhealthy, say doctors.

Researchers found celebrity recipes contain more calories and fat than supermarket ready meals, and less fibre. Neither dishes by the likes of Jamie, Nigella, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall or Lorraine Pascale, nor own-brand meals from leading supermarket chains, were healthy, according to a study by Newcastle University researchers.

They looked at the nutrient content of 100 recipes randomly selected from five of the chefs’ books – two were by the ubiquitous Jamie – and compared them to 100 pre-made meals from Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

On average, the chefs’ meals contained 605 calories, while the supermarket meals contained only 494. They contained about 50 per cent more fat – 27.1g per serving, compared to 17.1g – and about half the fibre, 3.3g rather than 6.5g.

The only measure where the chefs’ recipes were healthier was in terms of being less salty, containing 1.65g of salt compared to 2.00g.

So unhealthy were the chefs’ meals as a whole that the authors of the study, published online in the British Medical Journal, thought broadcasters should consider only showing them late in the evening.

They wrote: “In the United Kingdom advertisements of foods classified as high in fat, salt, or sugar are prohibited during programming likely to appeal to children, and a 9pm watershed for advertising such foods has been advocated. “No restrictions apply to the content of programmes with television chefs. For consistency, the nutritional content of all food portrayed on television, including that in programmes with television chefs, should be considered.”

For 15 years Jamie Oliver has striven to convince people of the health benefits of cooking their own food, so it is perhaps surprising that his recipes have received a red warning from experts.

Taken from two of his books – Ministry of Food and 30 Minute Meals – they made up 47 of the 100 celebrity chef recipes. They included one dish – Cauliflower Macoroni – that contains a whopping 1,100 calories per serving, about half an adult’s daily intake. It also contains 58g of fat, roughly three-quarters of a person’s daily need.

A recipe for braised pork by Nigella Lawson – who has never made a secret her love of rich food – contained 1,340 calories.

Wholesome Hugh tended to have the healthiest of the chefs’ recipes, with many rich in vegetables. But even his contained a blow-out dish, Gill’s poached lee and Dorset Blue Vinny Tart, coming in at a weighty 1,1178 calories a portion.

The authors wrote: “This study shows that neither recipes created by popular television chefs nor ready meals produced by three leading UK supermarket chains meet national or international nutritional standards for a balanced diet.”

Martin White, professor of public health at Newcastle University, said he and his team were “a little surprised” to see the television chefs’ recipes were less healthy. He said: “The Government says that processed ready meals should not be eaten too often and meals should preferably be cooked from scratch. “So we thought it would be interesting to see what the evidence actually showed.”

It was important that celebrity chefs cooked healthy meals, he said. “They have become immensely popular over the years. I can’t help but believe that, with millions of viewers, they don’t have some sort of influence over our eating habits.”

Prof White admitted to being “in two minds” about suggesting their programmes being restricted to after the watershed, but said moves had to be made to tackle Britain’s obesity epidemic.

Studies showed that restricting advertising of high salt, fat and sugar foods during children’s programmes had proved “ineffective overall”, so perhaps tougher measures were needed, he indicated.

At a minimum the chefs should include nutritional information in their cookery books so readers could decide how healthy they were, he said.


Up to 70,000 British jobs ‘are at risk from Brussels climate change law’

Up to 70,000 British jobs are at risk as a direct result of European carbon reduction targets, according to a report.

The policies have pushed up the cost of energy, threatening the vital mineral industries which deal in materials such as cement, chemicals, glass, ceramics and steel, the study claims.

It says the aluminium industry has been ‘virtually eradicated’ after closures in Anglesey and Northumberland, and blames policies which penalise ‘energy-intensive’ industries for emitting too much carbon dioxide.

As a result, firms in such industries, which employ 70,000 people, could be driven abroad where there are less stringent targets, costing jobs on our shores with no overall environmental benefits.

The study by think-tank Civitas claims the only way to save the £400billion-a-year industry is to scrap plans to fine firms which produce too much carbon dioxide.

Ministers should exempt such companies from the climate change levy – a tax on industries which do not use renewable energy – to the maximum extent permitted under EU directives.

And it says the Coalition should abandon its ‘unachievable’ target of generating 20 per cent of electricity by renewable methods by 2020 – the most far-reaching target in the EU.

The report said that EU legislation adds ‘considerable costs’ to energy prices, while the UK’s environmental strategy raises energy prices to high levels, even in comparison with the rest of the continent.

Unlike other countries with ambitious carbon reduction targets, Britain does not currently legislate to protect key industries.

Study author Kaveh Pourvand said: ‘Germany is careful to protect its energy-efficient industries with significant concessions on energy costs, estimated to be nine billion euros in 2011.’

The report advocates scrapping the ‘carbon price floor’, the amount companies will have to pay per ton of carbon dioxide they emit, which is intended to come into force in April.

The author points out that the EU-wide policy means that the continent is allowed to emit a certain amount of CO2 each year.

But the ‘obvious flaw’ is that if Britain reduces its amount of CO2, other countries will be allowed to produce more, meaning British industry is unfairly shackled.

It concludes: ‘Following David Cameron’s pledge to lead the “greenest” government ever, the Coalition has stuck firmly to the implementation and continuance of the 2008 Climate Change Act, committing the UK to a unilateral cut in carbon emissions of 80 per cent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

‘For British manufacturing to revive, the Government should abandon its expensive climate change policies.’



About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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