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News Report Page 15 of 15
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News reports located on this page = 4.

Council and community come together to save Beatles Mural

RESIDENTS in Litherland have Come Together with Sefton Council and prolific artist Paul Curtis to give an iconic Beatles mural a new lease of life. On Tuesday, 22 September 2020, essential maintenance works began on the gable end of a property on Croxteth Avenue, in Litherland, after it began to show signs of natural deterioration.

Owing to the nature of these works, a partial section of the internationally renowned Beatles mural, which is displayed on both the gable end and garden wall of the house, would need to be removed. Understandably saying:- "Let It Be" to the permanent removal of the mural was out of the question and so began detailed conversations between the building's owner, Sefton Council and artist Paul Curtis to:- "Work It Out."

Significant repairs have now begun on the property's garden wall ahead of more remedial works being carried out on the gable end of the building. Once these works are completed the main section of the mural will receive a cosmetic refurbishment, while the garden wall section will need a complete reinstallation. All artwork will be carried out as close to the original design as possible.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:- "The repairs needed to the building are considerably more than just 'Fixing A Hole' and there was simply no other way to do this without damaging the mural. I'm extremely proud of our hardworking Neighbourhoods teams who have worked diligently with all sides to get this complex project off the ground and, most importantly, found a way to protect this incredible asset to the community in Litherland. We don't envisage needing to do these works again When I'm 64. This is a project that will give both the building and the mural much needed longevity and ensures that it will be in place for generations to come. I would like to thank the building's owner, the Liverpool Mural Project and Paul Curtis for their support."

The original mural was completed over 5 days in May, 2008 as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations to mark Litherland's connections with the Fab Four.

North West Residents Tempting Fate By Digging Blind

1 in 5 people in the North West have hit an underground pipe or cable whilst digging, or know someone that has, with 8% of these incidents resulting in injury, according to new research into safe digging practices in the UK. On top of this, 26% of North West residents have been severely disrupted by a key pipe or cable being struck mistakenly by someone else.  For some working in specific trades, the problem is even more severe, with more than 2 in 5 of the nation's builders and 36% of farmers admitting to either striking a pipe or cable themselves or knowing a colleague who has.

The study, commissioned by the nation's leading underground mapping provider, LSBUD, found that 24% of people in the North West don't bother to check for underground pipes and cables before a spade or digger hits the ground. This is quite an issue as more than ½ of Brits completed digging works in the last 12 months, and 52% plan to do some in the next year; ranging from tree planting (11%), fencing (12%) and renovation work (9%), through to building a shed and putting a patio in (both with 8%) and doing work to the driveway (7%). All this presents a significant risk.

Richard Broome, Managing Director at LSBUD, comments:- "It is great to hear that 76% of people living in the North West now search before they dig, because it means our vital safe digging message is getting through. The major worry for me is that remaining quarter or so of people who never search before digging. Given the huge amount of work people have been doing to their homes and gardens during lockdown, and still plan to do, the potential for injury or worse, is very real. Remember, 'Search Before You Dig'."

Questioned on why they aren't performing searches, a
of people in the North West felt confident that pipes and cables were buried deeper than they were digging. A further 17% didn't know they needed to check. Richard Broome continues:- "The belief that pipes and cables are too deep under the land on our properties to be hit by a simple spade is one of the most common misconceptions that National Safe Digging Week wants to dispel. It is simply not true. As for it taking too long to search, it takes less than two minutes to search on our completely free portal; that's less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. Who doesn't have two minutes spare to ensure the safety of themselves and others?"

In addition to avoiding potentially life changing injuries, there are plenty of other reasons why people should do more to avoid hitting a pipe or cable. Richard Broome again:- "Modern life is so reliant on broadband, water, gas and electricity that we struggle to operate without them; no one wants a major utility accidentally cut off."

The research bears this out. People would be happier to be without food, alcohol and their families for 24 hours than to be without water or electriCity. When asked for the three things they'd least like to do without for the day, 38% of people in the North West stated that being without electriCity would be the biggest problem. 37% voted for water. Broadband secured 19% of nominations, just marginally behind food (22%). Being without gas was selected by 15% of people, narrowly beating alcohol (14%), partners (11%) and family (10%).

"There's also the cost of repairing pipes and cables to consider. According to industry sources, to fix a damaged pipe or cable typically costs around ₤3,000. However, according to research by the University of Birmingham, once you allow for things like traffic disruption and loss of custom to local businesses, the actual cost of a damaged pipe or cable is more than 29 times this figure. This means every pipe or cable that's hit costs the UK economy around ₤87,000. Beyond costs and inconvenience. absolutely no one wants to be the person who cuts off the utilities in their neighbourhood or causes a major flood by hitting a water main."
adds Richard Broome.

According to the overall study, 60% think it would be really embarrassing to cause such damage. Almost one in four fear they'd be pressed for damages, 15% think severe abuse on social media would follow, over 1 in 10 believe neighbours would fall out for a long time and 8% said they'd even feel the need to move! The organisers of National Safe Digging Week argue all of this is completely avoidable if you search before you dig. Searching doesn't mean asking neighbours, a method favoured by one in five, using metal detectors or checking the deeds of the house, all popular choices which are highly unreliable. There's also no need to spend money on an expert doing a survey. Simply go online to:- LSBUD.Co.UK and do a quick, 2 minute free check.  For more information, visit:- LineSearchBeforeUDig.Co.UK.

Richard Broome concludes:- "More than 1 in 4 people in the UK have been affected by a pipe or cable being damaged due to someone else's mistake. Given the UK's population of 67 million, that's a huge number of lives disrupted, businesses damaged and, if injury has arisen, lives potentially changed forever. It doesn't need to be this way. By using a free central information portal, the general public can have a detailed map of the pipes and cables beneath any selected area, showing them where to dig, and more importantly, where not to dig. In less time than it takes to make a cuppa, and without spending a single penny, you; and your neighbours; can have complete peace of mind before sticking a spade in the ground. So, no matter how small the job, search before you dig."

Victorian Plumbing Launches Expansion Recruitment Drive

MERSEYSIDE based bathroom retailer Victorian Plumbing has launched a major recruitment drive and business expansion, citing the trend for lockdown home renovation projects as the driving force behind the growth.  The company is looking to increase its headcount by 20% in the next three months as well as investing in an additional 50,000 sq ft of warehouse space to handle increased orders. The company has seen a significant increase in business over the lockdown period. Victorian Plumbing is looking to hire across all areas of the business, but with a particular focus on logistics and customer service roles. The jobs expansion is a welcome boost after figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that the Region's unemployment rate is 7%; higher than at the height of the financial crisis in 2007 to 2008. Lockdown drives spend on home renovations...  Victorian Plumbing's Managing Director, Stephnie Judge, said the company had seen huge growth during lockdown. "There has been an increased appetite for home renovations during lockdown and investing in a bathroom revamp has been a key project for many," she said.

UK consumers have spent a whopping ₤55 billion on home improvements since March, with the average homeowner spending ₤4,035.70 on home renovations. Far from being just something to do on a rainy weekend, DIY has now become a way of life for many UK homeowners. And this trend looks set to continue. Many consumers used money saved from not going on holiday or going out during lockdown to finance such home improvement projects. Although lockdown has eased, it seems the appetite for further home improvements remains, with research suggesting that almost one in five are planning to do some form of DIY soon and 20% looking to renovate a room or bathroom. "Consumers are revamping their home for a number of reasons. For some, savings achieved during lockdown have meant they have the cash to invest in their homes. For others, lockdown gave them the additional time to work on such projects and reminded them of the benefits of DIY." says Stephnie.

Meanwhile as lockdown has eased and the housing market resumes, it seems consumers will continue to invest in their homes with bathrooms as strong a selling point as ever.  "We are seeing consumers realise the benefits of renovations such as a new bathroom or simply adding a downstairs toilet or separate shower to increase the appeal of their homes to potential buyers," says Stephnie.

Jobs plan "looks designed so that no one will want to use it," says MP

MP Bill Esterson has criticised the Government's new jobs protection scheme, saying it:- "looks like a plan designed so that no 1 will want to use it." The MP for Sefton Central and Shadow International Trade Minister said the plan for the Government to support workers who work at least one ⅓ of their usual hours, means businesses will pay more to keep on 2 members of staff part time than one full time.

Mr Esterson said that rather than a plan for jobs, the scheme was in danger of becoming a plan for "mass unemployment" and needed a rapid adjustment. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced, on Thursday, that from 1 November 2020, the Job Support Scheme would replace the Coronavirus Rob Retention Scheme. The Job Support Scheme will subsidise 22% of the wages of any employee working a ⅓ of their normal hours. The employer would be asked to support 55% of the employee's normal full time wages, so the employee takes home 80% of their usual pay. The scheme will last 6 months. Alternatively, the employer could pay staff 33% of their wages for working a ⅓ of the time without applying for the Government subsidy.

The previous, more generous, Job Retention Scheme, also known as:- "furlough," which will end on 31 October 2020, initially paid 80% of an employee's salary, up to ₤2,500 per month, reducing to 60% currently. Furloughed employees do not have to work any hours to qualify, but may work some hours, with the Government supporting the pay for the hours they do not work. The self employed have been able to access the self employment income support scheme (SEISS), which has paid up to 80% of trading profits for those earning under ₤50,000 per year on average for the past 3 years. From 1 November 2020 that support will reduce to just 20% of normal trading profits for 3 months.

As well as receiving help from the new job support scheme, companies that bring back workers from furlough will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus, where the Government pays ₤1,000 for every furloughed employee who comes back to work until at least the end of January. Around 3 million workers, thought to be around 12% of the UK workforce, are currently fully or partially furloughed.  Mr Esterson said:- "The Chancellor's announcement is just too little too late. There are thousands of workers who have already been handed their redundancy notices, and this will have ended the hopes of thousands more, particularly in industries like events and hospitality which are being restricted from operating right now due to Covid. How do these businesses pay even a ⅓ of an employee's wages, never mind 55%? Labour has been calling for targeted support for the worst affected industries, and for support for those 3 million people who have so far received nothing and have not been eligible for any help. To ask firms to pay 55% of the wages of a staff member who only works a ⅓ of their usual hours makes no sense. It means it is more expensive to bring back 2 workers on a ⅓ of their normal hours than 1 worker on full time hours. It is cheaper to bring back 2 employees on a ⅓ of their hours and pay them a ⅓ of their hours, than to use this scheme and have their wages topped up. It actually incentivises employers to keep some staff on but make others redundant and it incentivises employers not to use the scheme. It is like the Chancellor has deliberately devised a scheme no one will want to use. This is not a plan for jobs, it's in danger of being a plan for mass unemployment. The Chancellor has said little about training and retraining, and says he is focusing on 'viable jobs'. But how does he determine what is a viable job? There are many jobs in events, hospitality and parts of manufacturing which will be perfectly viable when the economy gets back to normal, but where is the support for workers in those industries that are still shut down? How are their employers supposed to pay a ⅓ of their wages? And still there is nothing for the three million workers who have been excluded from all help up to now. The Government should learn from Germany where the job support scheme pays more than three times as much and is until at least the end of 2021. The German scheme gives employers and staff certainty, stability and clarity and is designed so that employers will use it. The UK scheme does none of these things and will cause real hardship and concern unless it is changed."

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