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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 06 March 2006

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Young people in the North denounce anti-social behaviour

A NEW poll, commissioned by the Home Office, shows that many young people in Northern England are unhappy about anti-social behaviour.
The majority (58%) of the 14 to 18 year olds from the North surveyed are angered by anti-social behaviour as they think it gives them all a bad name. two thirds of them dislike being stereotyped by the clothes they wear.

500 teenagers in England were polled as part of continuing work by the Home Office to seek out ways to tackle anti-social behaviour and to help create a new youth volunteering initiative which will harness the community spirit of young people.

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said:- "Young people in the North and around the country are fed up with being tarnished by the anti-social actions of a minority. It is promising to learn that the majority of our youth agree with the importance of contributing to their local community.  In fact, our young people have strong views for shaping their neighbourhoods in the future, and we need to encourage and support their involvement. That's what the Respect Action Plan is all about and why we have committed up to £100 million to implement the proposals of the Russell Commission to create up to a million new young volunteers."

The survey also showed that those questioned are embracing traditional values, with many insisting that young people should respect their elders and calling for improved manners. The majority of Northern young people think it's important to contribute to their local community - 87% advocate getting involved in a positive way. Many of the young people were already helping the community through odd jobs or running errands for friends, family or neighbours, or getting involved in their church or temple.

The survey also provided young people with an opportunity to give their views about the future of their communities. Young people from the North are calling for a reduction in crime, more than half want less litter and graffiti and many demand a greater voice for young people in what goes on in
their locality.

The Home Office has recently launched the Respect Action Plan, aimed at getting every citizen working together to build a society in which we can all respect one another.

What do you think?  

Let us know by emailing our news desk. news24@southportreporter.com.

Liverpool congestion charge would be commercial suicide

A LEADING business pressure group is warning Liverpool City Council that a congestion charging scheme would be 'commercial suicide' for the city's business community.

Len Collinson, the Merseyside-based National Chairman of the Forum of Private Business (FPB), said he is deeply uneasy about talk of a £40m scheme which will be discussed by the council's executive board on Friday.
"I must issue a stark warning to Liverpool that a congestion charging scheme risks seriously undermining the small business community," he said. "Businesses will view these proposals as more to do with creating another revenue raising cash cow than tackling congestion. It should not be forgotten that businesses are already being stung by the Mersey Tunnel toll, which makes a reported £12m annual surplus for Merseytravel. Surely traffic from Wirral could not be asked to pay the tunnel toll and a congestion charge? And Liverpool is in the top five local authorities outside London for issuing parking tickets. Moreover, there is serious talk of the Runcorn-Widnes bridge being tolled. Having a congestion charge in Liverpool on top of these existing taxes, as well as fuel duty, would be extremely ill advised."

Mr Collinson said recent figures showed that 38% of Liverpudlians worked for the state, compared with a national average of 25%.

"Merseyside needs to create a healthy economic environment for small businesses to grow so they can drive the local economy, creating jobs and wealth," he said. "But FPB research has found small firms are badly hurt by congestion charging with more than half - 58% - of our London members seeing a drop in profits since the congestion charge was introduced. Virtually all businesses would be affected by the increased costs that congestion charging would bring. That includes additional expense for commuters, deliveries, business meetings and a likely slump in footfall for retailers. The key to easing Liverpool's chronic access and congestion problems is better public transport and better roads, not another regressive tax."

Neil Jefferies of Rowlands and Co, hauliers and scrap metal merchants in Garston, said:- "A congestion charge could put us out of business. It really could tip us over. It would just be another cost on top of fuel duty. Duty is so high we can go to Birmingham on a haulage job and only make £12 profit. We already do minimal work in the Wirral because the tunnel toll takes a significant chunk off our bottom line. So the tunnel is a barrier to growth for our business and Wirral is on our doorstep. In fact when we do go to Wirral we go via the Runcorn-Widnes bridge. The head of transport for Liverpool City Council should come to my business and I will explain to him how the council is stopping us operating profitably. The roads in the city centre seem designed to slow traffic down."

Fred Duenbier, Managing Director of FWD Freight Services Ltd, an international freight forwarder in Pall Mall said:- "I don't think congestion charging is the solution for Liverpool. It would have a big impact on small firms. Traders in particular would be badly affected because shoppers would be put off coming in and paying the charge. We need to improve public transport capacity to get people out of their cars."

David Ball, Managing Director of Classic Lifts Ltd, a lift servicing firm in Formby, said:- "I'm not impressed by this idea. Looking at London, it would just add to our charges and make business more expensive and difficult. I do think it would undermine the small business sector on Merseyside."

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