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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 140

Date:- 21 February 2004

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"DEAR Southport Reporter & Mersey Reporter,

I want to encourage readers to become involved in a campaign to fight global poverty by urging the Government to stick to a promise that the UK made over thirty years ago, but which it has yet to honour.

In 1970, the richer member states of the United Nations, including the UK, agreed to give 0.7 per cent of the country's wealth in overseas aid. This target has been reaffirmed by successive UK governments but not one has been able to keep to this pledge. The closest the UK has ever got to the target was in 1979 when aid reached 0.51 per cent. And if many of our European neighbours like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands and Luxembourg have managed to keep their promise on aid then we can too. Ireland has recently pledged to meet the target by 2007.

Why should the UK Government commit to increasing its aid contribution? Well, quite simply, aid works. In my role as UNICEF UK Special Representative, I've seen how the power of development aid, if properly and honestly deployed, can transform lives. Take, for example, girls' education. UNICEF estimates that 65 million girls are out of school. It sounds hopeless but in Chad, school enrolment increased by 75 per cent in just one year as a result of the African Girls' Education Initiative. Education breaks the cycle of poverty by giving girls the chance to grow up to be healthy adults, have healthy children, be economically secure and reduce the risk of exploitation and HIV/AIDS. 

Not only will increasing aid transform lives but it won't cost the earth. Between 1960 and 2002, the UK has grown richer and personal wealth has more than doubled yet the amount that the government gives in overseas development aid has risen from just 13 pence per person per day in 1960 to just over 16 pence in 2002. The average family in the UK would pay just 99 pence extra per week in tax to meet this target.

We have seen how the Government can find money when it wants to, when it sees something as a priority and the 'right thing to do'. Lifting children out of poverty is indisputably the right thing to do. With increased money available for development, we can help to make the world a better and more secure place for all of us.

I urge you to join me in supporting 'The Magnificent 0.7' campaign by writing to Gordon Brown now to ask him to do more to fight global poverty and increase spending on international aid. The 0.7 campaign is launched this week by a coalition of charities to put pressure on the government to fulfill their promises. For more information on how you can have your say, visit or call 0870 606 3377.

Now is the time to fulfill the promise made in 1970 for the sake of all the world's children.

A promise is a promise.

Yours sincerely, Jemima Khan, UNICEF UK Special Representative"

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Conference team first to fly VLM to promote Merseyside.

REPRESENTATIVES from The Mersey Partnership and partners Radisson SAS, Liverpool Football Club, and Knowsley Hall will be making use of the new VLM airlink to London next week. The ‘jet set’ are off to International Confex 2004 to promote Merseyside’s conference facilities.

Now in its 20th year, International Confex takes place at Earl’s Court, London from 24 February to 26 February and is Europe’s longest running and most important conference event.

International Confex regularly attracts more than 1200 exhibitors from over 70 countries and is attended by more than 8000 visitors - the highest audience of any European show in this sector.

Chris Brown, Director of Operations at The Mersey Partnership said:- “International Confex is an unmissable opportunity to showcase Liverpool and Merseyside as a destination to the largest number of conference buyers from around the world in one venue. Liverpool’s Capital of Culture success has seen a huge increase in enquiries and with the new VLM airlink to London now in place we are confident that our offer is becoming stronger and stronger.”

Each day, activities at the Liverpool and Merseyside stand will be themed to highlight one of the participating venues:-

Radisson SAS will be showcasing their impressive new four-star hotel which opened on Valentine’s Day. On Tuesday 24th expert bartenders from the hotel will be showing off their skills providing cocktail shows and tasting sessions.

Liverpool Football Club will be highlighting their executive 4-star conference and dining facilities alongside their star player - Heathcotes at Anfield. Special guest Paul Heathcote will be at the stand on Wednesday 25th, cooking up culinary delights to tempt conference buyers to the stand.

Knowsley Hall, will be raising the profile of their conference facilities to event organisers looking for a different and unusual venue. On Thursday 26th, visitors to the stand will be served fine morning coffee and afternoon tea by Knowsley Hall’s resident butler.

The new Merseyside Conference Portfolio will be launched at International Confex 2004 and some exclusive competition prizes will also be on offer. The first prize is a luxury weekend break to Liverpool and Merseyside, with Presidential Suite accommodation at Radisson SAS, followed by matchday hospitality at Liverpool Football Club, then on to Knowsley Hall for a Jaguar test drive and afternoon tea. Daily Prizes include signed Liverpool FC shirts and footballs, a weekend stay at Radisson SAS and a luxury hamper, courtesy of Knowsley Hall.