News in brief

John Hutton, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has asked people to keep an open mind about his department's plans to offer employment and welfare contracts to non-state providers.

"We will look to contract with the providers that hold out the prospect of helping the most people at the best value for money," he said last week. 

Carer organisations in Scotland are launching a manifesto in Edinburgh today to highlight the contribution unpaid carers make to the economy. They want backing for measures such as extra investment to allow carers to take more breaks.

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