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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 30 January 2006

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City unites to remember holocaust victims

ON Friday 27 January Liverpool to remembered those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. A special service was helded in Liverpool to mark national Holocaust Memorial Day.

Members of the Jewish community, faith leaders, the Lord Mayors of Merseyside, civic guests, school children and members of the public united in prayer at the ceremony in St. Johns Gardens.

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Alan Dean, and Rabbi Cofnas, senior rabbi in Merseyside's Jewish community, layed wreaths at the memorial stone. The rest of the congregation layed white roses or plant stars and crosses in memory of all those who lost their lives during the Holocaust and acts of genocide.

Councillor Dean said:- "This Memorial service is a very poignant and moving ceremony which gives us the opportunity to promote understanding and awareness about the Holocaust.

Liverpool people of all faiths and communities are uniting as one at this special ceremony, to remember the victims of the Holocaust and of acts of genocide.

This city has vowed to always remember those who suffered and died during this atrocity, and ensure that future generations never forget this dark time in history."

After the service, guests move to the North Entrance Hall at St. George's Hall where students from King David High School light candles.

The event marked the 61st anniversary of the liberation of Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz. It was part of the city's commitment to ensure the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten, and that we learn the lessons of history.

Liverpool people can still log on to a special website to post their thoughts and feelings about the Holocaust and they can also sign a Book of Commitment in the foyer at Liverpool Town Hall. A lit candle is being kept next to the book as a symbol of hope.

Hundreds of people have already logged-on to show their commitment. To access the online site, go to this web page.

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Give the farmers their money now or pay them interest for your bungling, MEP tells Beckett

FARMERS have waited a year, now they must wait another six months to receive Single Farm Payments Brussels, 25 January 2006. Now English farmers who have already waited over a year for their Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments may well not receive their payments until the final legal deadline of 30th June, even though Welsh and Scottish farmers received their funds before Christmas, Sir Robert Atkins, Conservative MEP in the European Parliament, said today after Margaret Beckett spoke on the issue in the Parliament's agriculture committee.

Farmers had originally been promised a payment date of February, which would already constitute a year-long wait for their money - but the Secretary of State refused to say when her department would finally give farmers their dues.

The single farm payment is vital to the survival of many British farmers but the Rural Payments Agency has so far been unable to cope with a regional payments structure that DEFRA chose to administer the reformed CAP regime.

The single farm payment in England this year will be paid partly on an historic basis (by taking account of the number of sheep, cattle or the area of crops grown) and partly on the type of land the farmer has on his or her holding. This system of payment was entirely created by the British government.

The Rural Payments Agency has earned a reputation for not paying farmers their dues on time but its inability to cope with the excessively bureaucratic methodology set by DEFRA is its worst failing yet. Sir Robert has said that at best, farmers have been severely disadvantaged and at worst, they will go out of business. He is demanding Mrs Beckett publicly apologises to farmers and that DEFRA pays interest to English farmers for failing to get payments to them within a reasonable time.

He said:- "The British government has failed English farmers once again. Scotland, Wales and other countries in the EU have managed to pay farmers their dues with only a reasonable delay so why must British farmers find themselves once again facing bankruptcy because the government is failing to fulfil a simple responsibility?  

English farmers have been waiting a year for these payments and now they are being told to wait another five months. How many of them will go bust in the meantime?

If any farmer were late in paying taxes, he would soon receive a reprimand from the government and have to pay interest on the money owed yet the Minister's reaction to me today was indignant.  The Minister should apologise immediately to all farmers and DEFRA are morally obliged to pay interest on the money owed to farmers due to their incompetence  The new payments system the UK has brought in is overtly bureaucratic and should be reviewed immediately. It seems to have been deliberately designed so that farmers don't understand it but now even the officials that created the monster are unable to get their heads around how it functions."

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