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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 136

Date:- 24 January 2004

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BT CHIEF MEETS GREATER MERSEYSIDE LEADERS

CHIEF EXECUTIVE of BT Wholesale, Paul Reynolds held a meeting with Knowsley Council leaders and businessmen earlier this week to establish a greater foothold within the city to promote greater business links.

The company has been avidly promoting its broadband internet services nationwide for the past year, organised the visit in the wake of the decision to enable seven Merseyside exchanges early in support of the ambitious broadband partnership projects announced by the Greater Merseyside Digital Development agency in November last year.

During the meeting, Paul Reynolds paid tribute to the work of the Greater Merseyside Digital Development Agency in encouraging investment in technology in the area after the £3.9 million project was agreed after the meeting.

BT is working with the partners to drive up interest in and stimulate the use of broadband throughout Greater Merseyside.

It will become one of only a few city areas in the UK to be 100 percent broadband enabled when the technology is switched on during March 10 for Eastham, Rainford, Hale, Billinge, Hightown, Manor Park and Moore exchanges. 


Paul Reynolds said:- "It is clear the partners recognise the huge benefits of harnessing the opportunities that broadband affords, not only for small and medium businesses, but also the wider community."

COUNCIL TAX TO RISE ONLY BY INFLATION

LIVERPOOL'S council tax is set to rise by just the rate of inflation - for the second consecutive year.

At a meeting of the full council last night, councillors voted in favour of a resolution put forward by Executive member for Resources, Cllr Chris Curry, to increase bills - excluding precepts - by 2.8% from April. The precepts are set by the police, fire, public transport and waste authority's and are not controlled by the city council. 

Council leader Mike Storey said:- "In real terms people are paying less now than they were in 1998. The reason we've announced our budget before the precepts are set is because we want to clearly mark out our budget and appeal to the police, fire and public transport authority's to be reasonable in their precepts. 

Huge council tax hikes hit the most disadvantaged in our city and they stop investment and people wanting to come and live here, so it's vital they're kept as low as possible."

Liverpool has had an unrivalled record on council tax in recent years and has seen freezes and reductions during the past five years. It means that Liverpool has plummeted from the top of the council tax league table down to 58th position.

At the same time, the city council has gone from providing the third worst services in the country to being ranked 'Good', according to the latest Comprehensive Performance Assessment.

The budget includes £1.2 million more for education, £800k more for social services and £4 million for Capital of Culture.

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Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2004.