Methodists welcome acquittal of tax whistleblower
THE Methodist Tax Justice Network has praised the decision to overturn the conviction of one of the whistleblowers who exposed widespread tax avoidance in Luxembourg. Its chairman, the Revd David Haslam, said that he thanked God for Antoine Deltour, the former PricewaterhouseCoopers employee who leaked files on tax avoidance to a journalist in 2012, who had now been cleared by the Luxembourg Supreme Court. Now, the only way to respond to the “vast and unacceptable inequalities” in global business was to introduce a public register of firms in tax havens and comprehensive, multi-lateral tax reform, Mr Haslam said.
‘Catastrophe’ expected in children’s services
THE Christian charity Action for Children has issued a warning that continuing cuts to council budgets have left children’s services on the brink of collapse. Responding to figures obtained by the Local Government Association, which showed that a child was referred to children’s services every 49 seconds, the head of policy at Action for Children, Eleanor Briggs, said that the stark figures showed how the system had been cut back so much that it could only manage to “firefight” crises and step in when children were at immediate risk of harm. “We’re calling on the Government to prioritise the services children need before this turns into a catastrophe for the next generation of children and families.”
Victorian Society to continue fight for Bath Abbey pews
ALTHOUGH the Diocesan Chancellor of Bath & Wells has ruled that Bath Abbey may remove pews from its nave, the Victorian Society has said that it will appeal against the decision, in a further attempt to stop the Abbey’s plans. The Abbey wants to remove the pews as part of a £19-million-pound restoration project, but the Society contends that the pews — which were designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott — should stay to protect the “significance” of the Grade I listed Abbey. The society’s director, Christopher Costelloe, said that he was disappointed by the Chancellor’s decision, and insisted that there were strong grounds for an appeal.
WALES NEWS SERVICERestored: the Llanwnda Bible, from 1620, one of the oldest Bibles in Wales, is back on display after restoration at the University of Wales Trinity St David, in Lampeter. It was believed stolen from its original home at St Gwyndaf’s, Llanwnda, and partially burned by French soldiers during an attempted invasion in 1797
Former teacher at cathedral school jailed for abuse
A FORMER teacher at Ripon Cathedral Choir School, Ian Atkinson, 59, formerly of Staveley, Ripon, has been sent to prison for 12 years for indecently assaulting two boys under the age of 14. In the early 2000s, Mr Atkinson worked as a history teacher and boarding master at the school, which closed in 2012. He was also convicted of abuse charges dating from his time at another school in Hampshire. He is the second teacher from the choir school to be convicted of sexual abuse. In November, Robin Davidson, 81, from Worcester, admitted abusing boys in the 1970s.
Priest charged with sex offences pleads not guilty
CANON Terence Grigg, a former Rector of Cottingham and Prebendary of York Minster, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of indecent assault, and two of sexual assault, at Hull Crown Court last week. The alleged offences, against five victims, are said to have taken place between 1973 and 1996 in Hull, Devon, and London.