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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 187

Date:- 12 February 2005

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Clarke fails to grasp role of unskilled migrants

A LEADING business pressure group says Home Secretary Charles Clarke's new tough stance on immigration risked undermining the economy.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said although Mr Clarke was making the right noises about the importance of skilled migrant workers he was failing to grasp the key role played by unskilled migrants.

FPB Chief Executive Nick Goulding said small firms are struggling to find overseas workers for jobs British people will not do because of the grossly inefficient system for providing work permits.

"Both Mr Clarke's proposed points system based on skills and the Tories hardline approach are fatally flawed.  Just how on earth does a bureaucrat in London know what skills shortage we have? Why not let business owners decide what jobs need to be filled? If a person comes here to do a job where there is vacancy then that benefits everyone. But it is frankly ridiculous for Mr Clarke to say permanent residency will only be given to skilled workers, that is not getting to the heart of the problem. Many businesses want to employ overseas workers because they are willing to do unglamorous jobs. These are honest people who want to do an honest days work. They are not scroungers and they are filling a critical role in the nations economy. But at the moment the immigration system is so appalling inefficient it is like pulling teeth trying to get work permits for these people."

Mr Goulding said because of the onerous nature of the immigration system businesses are being tempted to employ overseas workers in the shadow economy.    "The inefficiencies of the system are encouraging the shadow economy which is bad news the worker, honest firms and the Government. Unless Mr Clarke makes it easier for unskilled workers to get work permits that problem is going to remain. And it is a grave problem as the worker suffers as they are vulnerable to exploitation, honest firms are undercut by rogue businesses operating on lower costs and the exchequer is deprived of tax revenue."

The Government's Immigration and Asylum plan is that they would introduce a new points system for migrants wanting to work or study. Immigration rules would also see "Financial bonds for migrants in sectors open to abuse to guarantee they return home" to put off migrants over staying in the UK. The plan does not stop at that as the Government is also calling for an end to automatic right for immigrants' families to settle and fixed penalty fines for each illegal worker used by employers. They say that "Only skilled workers allowed to stay permanently, after English language tests" and that "Refugees only given temporary leave to stay while safety in home country reviewed." To also keep track of visa applicants, all applicants are to be fingerprinted. The Government is also calling for "More detention of failed asylum seekers." 

Sefton hosts its first Anti-Social Behavior Conference

RIVERSIDE Housing, the largest registered social landlord in Sefton, is holding its first anti-social behavior conference at Aintree Racecourse on Thursday April 28. The free event is open to all Riverside Housing tenants and will feature presentations and discussions involving the police on ways to curb anti-social behavior. The conference will outline a strategy for each of Sefton's five neighborhoods. 

Deputy Divisional Director Carol Lavender said:- "Anti-social behavior is very much in the news at present and this conference will offer a useful opportunity for our tenants to find out the work of the various agencies in tackling this problem. 

Riverside Housing is thoroughly committed to working with partner agencies to improve the quality of life for tenants in Sefton. April's conference will enable us to spell out some of the facts regarding anti-social behavior and neighbor nuisance." 

Riverside Housing was the first registered social landlord to take out an Anti Social Behavior Order in Sefton in 2003. 

For more information on the ASB conference contact Riverside Housing on 0845 3304900. 

Liverpool's Transport Plan Hits the Road

LIVERPOOL people are being given the opportunity to say what transport issues they want to see addressed over the next 5 years. Roadshow's are being staged in the city at which people will be given the opportunity to outline what they think priorities for transport should be in the coming years.

The second Local Transport Plan for Merseyside is due to be submitted to the Government, as a provisional document, in July and will cover the period 2006-2011. It will seek to improve conditions in all areas of transport in a way that supports the regeneration of the region Councillor Peter Millea, Executive Member for Regeneration, said;- "Transport issues are a vital part of the city's -and the wider region's- regeneration.

The first local transport plan saw major changes ranging from the City Centre Movement Strategy to new child pedestrian training schemes.
"Now we want to know what Liverpool people see as their priorities over the next five years." 

The roadshow's will be at:- 

Garston One Stop Shop, Bowden Road 15 February 10am to 4pm 

Belle Vale Shopping Centre, Childwall Valley Road 16 February 10 am to 4pm 

Broadway Market, Broad Lane 17 February 10am to 4pm 

Paradise Street Bus Station 18 February 10am to 4pm 

The North at War
Special Exhibitions Gallery, 24 March 2005 to the 8 January 2006 

THE North at War is a major exhibition examining the impact of both world wars on the North of England and will be one of the highlights in the 60th anniversary commemorations of the end of the Second World War.

The world wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45 made extraordinary demands on people living and working in the north of England. During the First World War British civilians in their homes were, for the first time, vulnerable to enemy attack. In response, the men of Britain flocked to join the armed forces and fight, while women took on the jobs the men had left vacant.

During the Second World War, Hitler's armed forces tried to bomb and starve the British people into submission. In his first speech as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill famously promised, 'nothing * but blood, toil, tears and sweat', as the Nation galvanised itself for war. British industry, much of it in the north, was totally mobilized for the war effort. When he later toured major cities such as Liverpool and Manchester, Churchill described it as 'like going out onto the bridge of a fighting ship'. 

War brings out extraordinary stories of courage, resilience, loss and determination and this is as true for Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Hull as it is for London, Portsmouth, Southampton and Plymouth.The North at War brings together many of these northern stories for the first time, using film, photography, art and sound - and bringing back to the North many objects never exhibited before outside London.

The exhibition will reveal the stories of men, women and children living in the north of England during wartime. Focusing on the highs and the lows of the Home Front, The North At War begins by examining why the end of wars were celebrated with such enthusiasm and goes on to examine the feelings of loss and pain, the sense of threat endured, and finally the hopes and aspirations felt by many as war ends and peace begins.

Through an engaging mix of objects, personal stories and hands-on interactives The North At War will include amongst many other stories:

The German shelling of Scarborough and Whitby in December 1914.  At breakfast time on 16 December 1914 a German fleet scouting group unleashed a bombardment on the English North Sea ports of Hartlepool, West Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough on the North East coast. Around 1,150 shells fell, resulting in over 130 dead and almost 600 wounded. The two coastal defence batteries in Hartlepool responded, damaging three German ships, including the heavy cruiser, Blucher. The British press and public were outraged, the German Navy who considered both Hartlepool and Scarborough to be valid targets saw blaming the Royal Navy for failing to prevent the raid - but the attack as legitimate.

The Battle of Bamber Bridge, American GIs, famously described as 'over-paid, over-sexed, over-fed and over here', began arriving in Britain in January 1942. Welcomed by most, they brought with them nylon stockings, the jitterbug, and occasionally, trouble. On a summer's night in 1943, some black GIs got involved in an argument with white military police in the village of Bamber Bridge, near Preston in Lancashire. The incident - later christened The Battle of Bamber Bridge - happened as the local pub was closing. Bystanders, who sided with the black GIs, saw the argument escalate into violence as American military police opened fire, eventually killing one man and wounding four others. Order was not restored until 5 am the next morning

The Freckleton Tragedy. Freckleton, a village near Preston in Lancashire, was the scene of the worst air accident in Britain during the Second World War. On 23 August 1944, 61 people - 38 of them children - were killed when a B-24 Liberator plane belonging to the United States Air Force left nearby Warton air base but crashed during a storm on the infants' wing of Freckleton Holy Trinity School. The wreckage also partly demolished three houses and a snack bar, as it crashed in flames along one of the village roads. American entertainer Bing Crosby visited a nearby hospital a few days later and sang songs to some of the surviving children.

The V-1 bombing raid on Oldham on Christmas Eve 1944. The V-1, known as the Flying Bomb or Doodlebug, was the first modern guided missile used in wartime. Its characteristic buzzing sound caused considerable fear, and people would listen for the missile approaching, but then be relieved when it could be heard overhead as that meant it had actually passed them. If the engine noise cut out, it was time to take cover, as the unpowered missile was then on its terminal dive and about to explode. In the early hours of Christmas Eve 1944, German bombers flying over the North Sea launched V1 flying bombs, aiming them at Manchester. Most missed the city, and one landed at 5.50am on a terrace of houses in nearby Oldham. It killed 32 people, including some evacuees from London, and damaged hundreds of homes.

Armistice Day, VE (Victory in Europe) Day and VJ (Victory in Japan) Day celebrations. Armistice Day was on 11 November 1918, commemorating the Armistice or peace treaty signed between the Allied forces and Germany, that formally marked the end of hostilities on the Western Front. This took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning - the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month". In Blackburn, Lancashire services of thanksgiving in all the churches and chapels in the town were held that evening. Celebrations continued long into the night with fireworks, extra trams and full houses at the theatres and cinemas. Restrictions on lighting were relaxed and the market square clock was allowed to chime again. Schools were given a week's holiday and the Cotton Employers' Association unanimously closed all the mills for the next few days - one mill owner giving all his workers £1 each in celebration.

Victory in Europe Day was on 8 May 1945, the date when the Allies formally celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Reich. In Leeds, people danced in celebration on top of the lions in front of the Town Hall and five days later 2000 people took part in a victory parade.

However, many men were still fighting, or prisoners of war, in the Far East and it was not until Victory in Japan Day on 15 August 1945 that the whole nation could unite in celebration. At 9pm on VJ Day the King broadcast to his people:- "The war is over "

POW Camps were sited all over the North of England during the Second World War - from Ambleside in the Lake District to Durham in the North East. The camps further north sometimes housed the more ardent Nazis and members of the Waffen SS and U-boat crews. Moota POW Camp 103 was opened in 1942 near Cockermouth in Cumbria. Accommodating 1000 prisoners, it was built, like many others, on wild moors. Prisoners were brought in via Liverpool docks to work on farms and help to feed Britain.

At the end of the war some POWs remained in England. Bert Trautmann, hailed as one of the greatest post-war goalkeepers and recently awarded an honorary OBE, was at Camp 50 at Ashton in Makerfield. A paratrooper in Hitler's army, he helped to build the roads around Manchester Airport and played in the camp's football team. After his release he stayed in Britain, joining Manchester City in 1949.

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