LETTERS TO EDITOR:-
“Open General Licences”
Reporter, “Ben Bradshaw’s unusual but welcome u-turn on ‘Open General Licences’ for shooting pigeons and crows obscures a more worrying approach by this Government towards shooting.
In their 2001 Manifesto, Labour promised that it had "no intention whatsoever of placing restrictions on the sports of angling and shooting".
And yet the truth is that indirectly but steadily shooting has been interfered with, and had it not been for the intervention of rural groups, the damage may have been even more substantial.
The draft Animal Welfare Bill contains a number of proposed and unnecessary measures that would impact heavily on the rearing of game and thus the viability of the majority of UK game shooting and associated industries. The Home Office Firearms review hints at restrictions on the age young people can use weapons, and the number of guns an individual can own.
The Hunting Act, not DEFRA’s finest piece of work, contains restrictions in the way that a gamekeeper can use a dog to control pests.
The Government said it would allow hunting to continue under licence, but could not control its own party, the result being a ban of sorts. We know that a significant number of backbenchers hate shooting just as much as hunting and for much the same reason - the sight of a tweed coat provoking much the same old prejudices as the sight of a red one.
As we approach the election we will no doubt witness countless Government and Party expressions of love for shooting and fishing. The question is whether we should be seduced by them?
The answer lies in the detail of current proposals, and DEFRA ministers long relationship with animal rights groups with anti shooting beliefs from which many have benefited financially.”
Tom Fell, Countryside Alliance Regional Director
COULD YOU BE THE NORTHERN SMALL BUSINESS CHAMPION?
AS the forth annual hunt for the British Small Business Champion kicks-off, local firms are being urged to enter the competition to see whether they can make it a consecutive hat trick for Northern businesses, as well as scooping themselves a tailor-made business trip to New York.
Two Northern firms, The Industrial Building Company, based in Richmond, North Yorkshire and Noel Chadwick, from Standish, Wigan to clinched the championship in 2003 and 2004. Now the competition organisers, Lloyds TSB, the Federation of Small Businesses and The Mirror, are keen to see whether the winning streak can continue.
Entries are invited from all well-run small businesses in the North that have been operating for at least 5 years, employ fewer than 50 people and offer excellent customer service. The Northern winner will then go on to compete against 5 other regional winners for the British Small Business Champion title, which will be awarded at Claridge's in London on 15 November 2005.
Stephen Pegge, head of communications, Lloyds TSB Business, says:- "Small firms are vital for the health of the local economy. Not only do they provide employment opportunities, but they are often the source of the innovation for which this region is renowned. These awards have already gone some way towards giving Northern small business the recognition it deserves, as well as raising the profile of entrepreneurship up and down the country."
John Emmins, BSBC chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, says:-
"This is the fourth year that we have run these awards, which have proved to be exceptionally popular with Britain's small business owners. This sends out a clear message that SMEs want, and value, genuine recognition of their achievements and the invaluable contribution they make to their customers, employees and communities across the UK."
Entry forms can be obtained by calling 01525 381503, faxing 01525 853561, writing to BSBC, St. Kilda, 24 Heath Road, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, LU7 3AB or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, apply online at:- www.fsb.org.uk/general/bsbc. The closing date for applications is 12 May 2005.