This week's UK news: 15 May 2009
15 May 2009

Politicians still in trouble

There has only been one real news story in Britain this week. All the news reports and news stories are full of details about money politicians have claimed for doing their jobs.

Members of Parliament (MPs) often need to have two homes. They usually have a home in the area that they represent, and another one in London close to Parliament. They are allowed to claim back some of the extra costs of a second home.

But details of what they claimed have been secret until now. One newspaper has been given information about all MPs' claims, and some of them have been very surprising. One man was claiming for a home loan he had already paid off. Another charged for 25 lightbulbs to be installed.

Many politicians seemed to have furnished more than one home, or charged for dog food, legal bills or clothes. Others got their swimming pools or tennis courts mended. Some seem to have made money by improving and then selling houses.

Some MPs have claimed thousands of pounds. Others have claimed almost nothing. New details have been published every day.

Leaders of the political parties have now made some of their members pay back some of the money they have claimed, but ordinary people are very angry.  Some say the police should investigate some of the claims. The MPs involved say they have made mistakes. Others say they were following the rules.

The main political parties are now very worried, because there are elections for the European parliament very soon. A general election is also due in the next year.  Politicians fear people will either not vote at all, or may choose a more extreme political party. 

Bra wars

One of Britain's most popular shops was in trouble with women customers this week.

The problem started when Marks and Spencer decided to charge an extra £2 for larger bras. The company is famous for its underwear so this affected lots of people.

One customer started a Facebook campaign, Busts for Justice, asking for all sizes of ladies' underwear to cost the same. The store said larger women needed more support and their bras cost more to make.

The women got so much publicity that the store reversed the price change -- and also cut the price of all bras for a short while. 

School pupils injured during exam

A metal heating pipe crashed into the middle of a sports hall where 150 teenagers were sitting an exam.

Eleven of the pupils were taken to hospital with head and neck injuries after the accident at a school in Kent. Nine were later allowed home from hospital.

Safety checks are now going on at the school.


by Susan Young -


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