World news: Report slams David Cameron ‘drift’ from reforms

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DAVID Cameron and other senior ministers have been criticised for backing away from public sector reforms amid heavy political pressure.

A thinktank has warned the Prime Minister’s support for key changes to the NHS and other services has “drifted”.

As a result ministers, such as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, had been “exposed to attack”.

The report from right-leaning Reform came with the Government still struggling to get its NHS plans through parliament.

Training claim ‘unacceptable’

The police watchdog said today that it was disappointed that a former deputy chief constable had not co-operated with its investigation into financial claims for development training.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it was “unacceptable” for North Yorkshire Police Authority to give Adam Briggs more than £30,000 without a means of auditing how it was spent.

Rape fund to help girl gangs

The government has announced £1.2 million of funding to help girls involved with gangs who are raped by male members.

A network will support victims of sexual violence or exploitation or those at risk of becoming victims, the Home Office said.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said the violence experienced was shocking.

Disruption expected after more heavy snowfall

Widespread disruption is expected on transport routes across England and Wales today following significant overnight snowfall and sub-zero temperatures that show little sign of relenting.

More than two inches of snow blanketed some regions as the mercury hit -4C. The freezing conditions are expected to continue in the coming days with temperatures plummeting to as low as -9C, bringing an end to a week of Arctic weather that has caused chaos up and down the country.

London

Runners with a head for heights are being urged to sign up to a tower-running event on March 1 to raise money for a homelessness charity.

Totalling 920 steps and reaching 183 metres, Shelter’s Vertical Rush will be held at Tower 42 in London, where competitors will race to the top of the building, with prizes available for the fastest times.

Wales

A small village inn run by an ex-teacher that sells dozens of different real ales, does not have music and only produces a TV when Wales play rugby was today named pub of the year by Camra.

The Bridge End Inn in Ruabon, North Wales, was bought in 2009 by Peter McGivern after it was closed for six months, and is now a thriving local, selling beer from the family’s microbrewery as well as ale from more than 100 local and regional breweries.