British ministers are refusing to cooperate with the US criminal investigation into allegations of corruption against BAE, Britain's biggest arms company, the Guardian can disclose. More than two months after an official request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) was received from Washington, the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, has not yet allowed it to be acted upon. The US investigators believe the British are being obstructive.
Britain's stocks of plutonium are kept in "unacceptable" conditions and pose a severe safety and security risk, experts warn today. The Royal Society says ministers must urgently review the way more than 100 tonnes of the radioactive element, separated during the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, is held at the Sellafield complex in Cumbria. The society, Britain's premier scientific academy, says a previous warning to the government has been ignored, and that the rise of international terrorism means the UK must now find a way to use or dispose of the material.
A £43bn increase in NHS spending over the past five years has failed to create the patient-centred service that the government promised, according to analysis of the views of 1.4 million patients published today. The Picker Institute, a health research charity, found 48% of hospital patients were not as involved as they wanted to be in decisions about their care. The proportion had not changed since 2004.
The number of women taking employers to court claiming unfair pay is rising so quickly that it has left the system unfit for purpose, according to the head of Britain's equality watchdog. Jenny Watson, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, has told The Times that the flood of pay claims brought recently against local authorities is pushing the tribunal system to breaking point.