Bottomley pressed to make statement

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The Independent Online
Virginia Bottomley has been challenged to make a statement on child care in Buckinghamshire following yesterday's report in the Independent of allegations of negligence and abuse in residential homes.

David Hinchliffe, a Labour health spokesman, tabled two questions in the House of Commons last night. He asked the Secretary of State for Health to state if she had received any report from the Social Services Inspectorate on the provision of child care in Buckinghamshire and, if so, to describe what action had been taken as a result. He also asked for a formal inquiry into residential childcare provision in the county.

Buckinghamshire has denied that the quality of its childcare provision is poor, and that its homes are "out of control".

The Independent yesterday reported that authority workers were concerned at the level of violence and brutality in some homes. Neighbours to some institutions confirmed yesterday that they had complained to social services of the behaviour of the young residents and warned of their fears of drug taking.

One woman, Shona Muir, who lives near The Old Barn -a home for teenagers in Aylesbury - was so concerned by the children's behaviour that she complained to the local authority, and provided a home video - allegedly of boys of 16 and 17 out at night - as part of her evidence.

The Old Barn has now been closed for renovation.

Neighbours of another home, Orchard House in High Wycombe, claimed yesterday that they have had a lot of problems with gangs of teenagers, although they have not been able to find out if they come from the home.

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