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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 27 March 2006

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MONEY WORRIES CAUSE 2 MILLION BRITS TO LOSE SEX DRIVE

AS MANY as 2 million British adults admit that worrying about their finances has made them lose their sex drive, according to a new study by insurance giant AXA. The company says that around 1.3 million women and around 732,000 men have lost their libido, and sorting out their finances is the only way to rediscover it.

But who is most likely to lose their libido due to money worries? Of those who have experienced money problems affecting their relationships, over half are either married or cohabiting, 23% are widowed or divorced and perhaps surprisingly 22% are single. And maybe not so surprisingly, the study showed that women are more than twice as likely to let financial problems affect their sex life than men (64% female and 36% are male). In addition, 68% of those who have lost their libido due to money worries are between 35 and 54 years of age.

Regionally, Northerners are most likely to lose their sex drive due to money worries. A massive 25% of those who live in the North who have had their personal relationships affected by money say that their libido has dropped. In contrast, Southerners either have less money problems, or if they do, they tend to prioritise sex over money, as just 14% say that money worries have affected their libido.

So how else do money problems affect our relationships? Of those people who have experienced relationship problems because of their finances:-

· 37% of people say they spend less quality time with their partners

· 50% have more arguments and a shorter temper when they are worried about money

· 26% of adults have admitted that money worries make them spend less quality time with their children

Over 7 million adults also admitted to avoiding discussing their finances with their partner, family or friends as it causes them anxiety. 3.2 million of these people went as far as to say that they always avoid financial discussions with those closest to them.

Even in the world of fictional soaps and TV dramas, money problems, and the lack communication around these problems, have a big impact on some of our favourite characters, their love-life and livelihoods.

Top 5 Programme Money / Relationship Problem

1. Ian Beale, Eastenders Nearly all Ian Beale’s relationships have been tainted by his greed and related money problems. After ex-wife Cindy tried to kill him for his money he went bankrupt. But even though he’s now getting back on track he still continues to lie about money, for example, being secret bidder on the Queen Vic, behind current partner’s back.

2. Sally and Kevin Webster, Coronation Street Sally keeps spending beyond the family’s means and this causes friction with husband Kevin. Rosie, the eldest daughter is at private school even though they can’t really afford it. This strain is such that recently Sally had an affair.

3. Patrick and Yolande, Eastenders Patrick is always sneaking around behind Yolande’s back setting up Poker games. He spends too much money in the betting shop and the Queen Vic pub. This puts a real strain on his relationship with his hard working, God fearing wife Yolande. It’s gotten so bad recently that Patrick even resorted to having an affair with Pat Evans.

4. David Bishop, Neighbours David lost most of his family’s wealth on a bad business decision and was too proud to tell his wife when he lost his job. He even pretended to continue going to work everyday.

5. The Cooper family, The OC Jimmy and Julie Cooper were heading down the road to ruin and ended up splitting up. Gold digging Julie then married super rich Caleb who, after finding out he wanted a divorce, later tried to poison in order to get her hands on his money.

Darrin Nightingale of AXA says:- “Our study has revealed that this sensitive problem is quite widespread and a person with a financial problem is likely to lean on his or her partner for support and advice. When the original money problem breeds a second, more personal, problem with their relationship, it can make things much harder to deal with. With this study comes the recognition that money worries, and a lack of financial understanding and know how, are affecting both the mental and physical aspects of their personal relationships.”

DEATH OF THE SURFER … BIRTH OF THE SUPERSITE

GOVERNMENT addresses shift in online behaviour with www.direct.gov.uk, giving people in the North West access to public services all in one place.  New research published by Directgov points to a new era in the use of the internet that experts are calling the ‘Supersite’ phenomenon. Despite 75.8million websites (and 6 billion pages) in existence, people are no longer ‘surfing’ widely over the whole net, with half of internet-users in the North West visiting just 6 or less sites on a regular basis.  Over 3/4s of the people interviewed in the North West say the internet is indispensable to their daily lives and 94% say they go online with a specific destination in mind. People are now using the internet more smartly, visiting a handful of destination websites that have emerged as ‘Supersites’ due to their importance to people’s lives.

So what makes a Supersite?   When asked what factors were most important in a website they visited regularly, it wasn’t necessarily about being entertained or saving money, in fact the majority of North West respondents said that it needed to be:-

- Trusted (57%)

- Tried and tested (57%)

- Familiar (55%)

- Reliable (51%)

The research goes on to suggest that using just 1 banking, shopping, travel information and holiday website is enough for 1 person to keep their life well-managed.

But the research also shows that there is space in people’s lives for 1 more Supersite to help manage their government and administrative affairs. 70% of respondents in the North West said that they would welcome a website that gave them access to public services all in 1 place.

As an integral part of its wider transformation of public services, the government this week launches an awareness campaign for its own Supersite – Directgov www.direct.gov.uk.  Consumers in Liverpool can use the site for everything from renewing their car tax or passport to finding out about local schools, childminders and recycling.

Jim Murphy, Cabinet Office Minister with responsibility for Directgov, said:- “If you can order your shopping, manage your bank accounts and book cinema tickets online - why shouldn't you expect the same convenience online from Government? A few clicks and you're there - that's what people expect and demand from their services today and Government is no exception.  Directgov makes it much easier for people to get to the public services they need by joining up government to bring everything together all in one place. It’s our response to the changing way that people want to access information, communicate and deal with things online and on the move. Renewing your car tax, learning about benefit entitlement, finding out about training or checking your council’s recycling facilities need not be complicated – it’s all there at www.direct.gov.uk.”

Michael Nutley, Editor of New Media Age, says:- “The research illustrates a major step change in the way we access information online. We now spend much more time at far fewer sites and this has led to the evolution of online superbrands – or ‘Supersites’. In the North West the websites identified as being the most invaluable to our lives included Ebay, BBC, Google, Yahoo and Amazon. Increasingly people are able to make their lives easier via the internet – now www.direct.gov.uk joins the ranks of ‘Supersites’ that are helping people to manage their lives.”

“The overall strategy for Directgov is to deliver long-term cost savings for the government, and therefore ultimately the tax payer,” said Jim Murphy. “This will be easily achieved by switching interaction with the government from existing resource intensive channels, like face-to-face, call centres and printed publications, to most cost efficient digital channels.”

A Directgov service is also available on Digital TV through Sky, Telewest and ntl and via an i-mode pilot on O2.

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