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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 223

Date:- 16 October 2005

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North West Prepared to Take Action to Protect the Environment

SURVEY indicates the attitudes of people from the North West towards the environment, organised crime and global poverty.  The survey results released this week during the UK’s 6 month Presidency of the European Union indicates that people in the North West are willing to do more to protect the environment. 74% would be prepared to recycle household waste, whilst around 63% would reduce the amount of water and electricity they use.

The survey also indicated positive attitudes in relation to helping tackle other EU Presidency
priorities such as global poverty and organised crime. Over half of respondents in the North West would be prepared to buy fair trade goods, whilst 42% would donate to a relevant charity, compared to the national average of 39%. On the issue of organised crime, 35% would be prepared to report the selling of counterfeit goods and 60% would report suspicious behaviour.

The UK took over the 6 month Presidency of the European Union on July 1, a position that enables it to progress the EU's agenda on major issues affecting its 450 million citizens. The priorities of the UK Presidency include tackling global poverty, the environment and organised crime.

SCHOOL LEAVERS TO DRIVE TRUCKS

NEW rules will allow school leavers to drive 44 tonne articulated trucks by September 2009. The move is expected to help solve the crippling skills shortage facing the UK transport industry. Under an EU directive published this week, 18 year olds will be able to take charge of the largest vehicles normally allowed on British roads. It is technically possible for 18 year olds to train as truck drivers now, but only under arcane and bureaucratic procedures that put off all but a handful, and which employers find too cumbersome.

There are currently 500,000 licensed truck drivers in the UK, the industry needs to recruit another 100,000 by 2010.

Andy Salter, Editor of Commercial Motor magazine, which broke the story, said:-
"This is positive. I appreciate there may be concerns about an 18 year old in charge of a large vehicle, but you can fly a plane at 18, so why not drive a truck?

Getting it right is a matter of good training and for the sake of our economy, we have to do something to rectify the chronic shortage of drivers. By the time they are 21 it is too late, youngsters are well established in other careers, and lost to the transport industry."

the Environment

THE LEADER of Liverpool City Council is calling on Government Ministers to this week impose a total ban on smoking in public places. Cabinet ministers are meeting this week to review the Government's proposal to introduce a partial smoking ban only pubs where food is served. Councillor Mike Storey is urging Ministers to follow the example of Liverpool's Smokefree campaign and introduce a complete smoking ban in all public places. Liverpool is currently promoting private legislation in parliament for Liverpool. Its Bill will ban smoking in restaurants, pubs, shops, offices and all other workplaces to protect the public and employees from being exposed to cigarette smoke.

Councillor Storey said:- "The Government has come under intense pressure from its own MPs and health organisations who say a partial smoking ban in public places will not work. I'm hopeful the Prime Minister will heed to common sense. Only a total smoking ban in places like shops, pubs, restaurants and workplaces will protect people's health. The majority of public support a complete ban. I'm hopeful the Government will change its stance this week and go for a complete ban on smoking in public places. Liverpool has led the campaign to make public places safer and smoke-free and I urge the Government protect everyone who is exposed to smoking in public places and workplaces."

Figures show that everyday 30 people in the UK die as a result of second-hand smoke. In Liverpool, more than 1,000 people are killed by smoking every year, and over 100 people die each year from cancer caused by passive smoking.

Liverpool's Smokefree Bill has cleared its Second Reading and will be scrutinised by a House of Lords committee later this month.

Gordon Brown could revive British economy by cutting tax on business

GORDON Brown could revive the British economy by cutting tax on business, rather than raising taxes to
fill the looming gap in his public spending plans. That's the call from national business pressure group, the Forum of Private Business which champions the cause of more than 25,000 private businesses across the UK.

It comes in the wake of the devastating report by the influential Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development, which predicts a slump in the UK economy down from 2.5% to 1.7% growth in the coming year. This is less than half the growth rate predicted by the Chancellor in the Budget, when he forecast growth of up to 3.5%.

"With British companies paying more than twice as much in taxes as their counterparts in US, Gordon Brown should take a leaf out of President Bush's economic policy for America and slash taxes that hold back business enterprise.

Lifting the heavy hand of taxation imposed on business would unleash entrepreneurial spirit and encourage private businesses to create new wealth and jobs.

British companies should not be treated purely as
a cash cow by the Government."
said FPB national spokesman Rex Garratt.

According to a latest report from the World Bank, British companies pay more than twice as much in
direct and indirect taxes as firms in US. British businesses pay 52.9% of their gross profits in one
form of tax or another. By comparison the tax burden on companies in the US is only 21.5%, in Japan
34.6% and in France 42.8%.

"President Bush has come under attack for his plans to cut taxes in America by critics who say the poor and deprived will suffer.

But we believe our Chancellor could take a leaf out of Bush's policy and cut some of the taxes that hold back economic growth here in Britain."
said Rex Garratt.

Taxes such as PAYE, National Insurance contributions, business rates, corporate tax, VAT, capital gains tax, dividend tax and fuel duty are among levies the FPB is calling on the Chancellor to reduce in order to give UK businesses the chance to grow and boost the economy.

"Although small firms can now apply for business rate reductions, the vast majority still pay a massive amount of business rates via their local council, and get absolutely nothing in return."
say the FPB.

Businesses are charged extra if they want their refuse collected, or if they want to dispose of waste or
recycle. They are also subjected to a whole range of additional charges for inspections, licences to
trade and certifications. The World Bank highlighted the complexity of the tax system in Britain, where
there are 22 different forms of taxation on British companies. The bank report suggested the
introduction of 'flat taxes' to simplify the costly bureaucratic burden imposed on firms.

The bank report also relegated the UK from 7th to 9th place in the world for ease of doing business.

Policing, have YOUR say!!!

DO you think the police need to do more work on fighting speeding or crime in your area?  Well this is your chance to have your say. 

This week the Police and Community Forums are holding a forum for you to have your say on policing in Sefton.  The forums are a meeting where the police and local residents get together to discuss issues of mutual concern.  Anyone can attend and you don't need an invitation!

The night starts at 7:30pm prompt in Southport town centre, at Mornington Road Day Centre, Mornington Road, Southport, PR9 0TS.   

If you have any requirements such as a loop system, interpreter etc, please contact 0151 285 5508.

For more information about the night please ring Merseyside Police Authority on 0151 236 47 48.

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