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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 12 February 2007

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 ROWS OVER HOUSEWORK PAIN UNMARRIED VALENTINES

NEW research shows cohabiting couples in the North West are more worried about whose turn it is to wash up than securing their future.  The most common arguments between cohabiting couples in the North West are about housework, according to new research from the LivingTogether Campaign. But worrying about how the house looks could be a waste of time for many, as 42% of cohabitants are living in a home owned or rented in only one partner's name. This means thousands could find themselves in serious difficulty, with no right to stay in the property, or claim a share of its value, if the relationship ended.  The 'Mr & Ms' study, conducted by BMRB, showed 27% of arguments (compared to a national average of 19%) were over domestic chores, and around 16% caused by conflict over money issues.

Mary Webber, cohabitation expert at legal rights and information website Advicenow.org.uk, which runs the campaign, says couples in the North West may be living in a false sense of security, believing they have legal rights to the shared home and property they simply don't have:- "The findings suggest cohabiting couples are worrying about the wrong things" she explains. "There's still a big difference between what people believe they would be entitled to if they were to separate from their partner, and the legal realities. Instead of worrying about whose turn it is to take the bins out, these couples need to take a look at their situation, and make sure each partner has a fair deal. The problem is that too many still don't realise there's any difference between the rights for married and unmarried couples in the first place."

21% of unmarried adults in the North West are currently cohabiting, according to the ONS.

Key findings from the research include:-

* Housework is blamed for most arguments among couples in the region, causing more than 27% of all rows, compared to 19% nationally

* Money is at the root of around 16% arguments 

* DIY and home improvements also featured highly, causing 14% of conflicts

* 59% of people in the region still believe unmarried couples have the same rights as married couples after a period of living together

* 42% of cohabiting couples are living in a home owned or rented in only one partner's name. 31% of men and 38% of women are living in a home without their name on the paperwork

* 65% of those living in a home owned solely in their partner's name would expect to get some of the value of the property if they were to split

* 51% of those who contribute nothing towards buying shared furniture and appliances, or to the family car, would expect to get at least half of everything on separation

These expectations are in sharp contrast to the reality for cohabitants.  Without their name on the tenancy agreement or the deeds of their home, partners will find themselves facing a long and costly court battle if they want to remain in a property, or want a share of its value after separation.  Unless there's a written agreement signed by both parties, the same will apply in the case of any shared furniture, appliances, vehicles or other property not paid for directly by that partner. This means that many, particularly women who have given up work to look after children, can find themselves with little or nothing after a break up.

"There are lots of simple steps people can take to protect themselves," says Mary Webber. "Couples can easily write their own Living Together Agreement, setting out how property is shared, who contributes what towards things like bills and domestic appliances, and what would happen if they split up. They also need to make sure their homes are owned or rented in a way that reflects the reality of how they share that home, so everyone can feel secure.  Of course people don't want to think about splitting up, but discussing all eventualities can be as much about making a show of commitment, as about anticipating the worst."

Cohabiting couples can download free guides to making a LivingTogether Agreement, and covering issues including housing, finance, wills and children, from the LivingTogether Campaign's website.

Trust in Yellow TAMWORTH COACH

ONLY a few places remain on the coach to Tamworth...  Departure Times:- The Arion, Ainsdale 11.10 The Crown, Birkdale 11.20 The George 11.25 Haig Ave 11.30 Ormskirk 11.45.  Prices:- TIY Members paying in advance £12. On The Day £15 Non Members £18. Bookings can be made via telephone:- 07790041514.   Advance Payments can be made in the Grandstand Club on Thursday night between 7.30pm and 9.30pm.

World's first wind and gas offshore energy project given green light

A UNIQUE dual energy scheme to be sited off the Cumbrian coast was given the go-ahead by Energy Minister Lord Truscott.  The Ormonde project from Eclipse Energy will be sited 10km from Walney Island near Barrow in Furness.  This innovative hybrid development has the potential to generate up to 200mw of electricity with almost half coming from the wind farm comprising up to 30 turbines. This is enough clean energy for around 70,000 homes.  When the wind isn't sufficient, power will still come via conventional gas sources pumped from 2 fields in nearby Morecambe Bay for which DTI approval has also been sought.

Energy Minister Lord Truscott said:- "We are now starting to see a real flow of approvals for energy projects in UK waters. The London Array and Thanet schemes in the Thames Estuary went through in December and the good progress continues in 2007.  The Ormonde scheme is unusual in that it will combine wind and gas power to produce continuous electricity for the region. It is an exciting and innovative technological first that will make a contribution to our renewable energy aims."

Minister for the Marine Environment, Ben Bradshaw, said:- "This development reinforces the Government's commitment to renewable energy and combating climate change. All of the environmental issues and possible impacts on others users of the sea have been addressed in the planning and consent process."

Commenting on the licence award, Ian Hatton, Managing Director of Eclipse said:- "Eclipse is delighted to have gained consent for the world's 1st hybrid energy generation facility.  We have combined both North Sea oil and gas experience and business models to provide a commercial catalyst to enable us to harness the energy from offshore natural gas fields and wind power, this is a global first.  Over the next few years the UK's natural gas reserves will become depleted and we will become increasingly dependent upon imported energy. It is therefore vital that we explore the opportunities for producing energy from renewable sources and that we maximise recovery of the nation's indigenous energy.  We believe that wind power can play a key role by producing electricity from a clean, free, abundant and inexhaustible resource.  We expect Ormonde to be the first of a series of similar projects where offshore wind energy is developed using the hybrid concept."

Rob Hastings, Director of the Marine Estate at The Crown Estate said:- "The Crown Estate is delighted to have been able to work closely with the developer and the DTI to enable this important demonstration of transitional technology. The combination of hydrocarbon and renewable energy is part of the future of energy production."

The Ormonde project is scheduled for completion in 2010.

NORTH WEST HOT SPOT FOR CAREER CHANGERS

INCREASING numbers of career changers in the North West are boosting the region’s teaching population, according to figures released by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).  The number of over 30s qualifying as teachers in the region has risen sharply in 5 years. In 2000/01, 1,377 people over 30 gained qualified teacher status (QTS) at North West institutions, rising to 2,022 by 2004/05, a 46% increase. 24% of new teachers in the North West in 2004/05 were over the age of 30.  With nearly 6,000 teacher training places available in the North West for the academic year 2007/08, the TDA is hosting Train to teach - Manchester, the largest teaching career fair in the North of England, to tap into the region’s potential teaching workforce.

Graham Holley, Chief Executive of the TDA, said:- “There are more than 3,000 schools in the North West which means there are fantastic opportunities for new teachers. Career changers say they are attracted to teaching because of the unique combination of working with young people and the opportunities to use their degree knowledge and be creative in bringing lessons to life. Very few jobs can offer such an exciting mix, alongside genuine career prospects. There are also competitive starting salaries - teachers in the region start on up to £20,133 and this can rise fast.  Whether you’re contemplating a career change or looking for your first graduate job, come along to Train to teach - Manchester to find out how to begin a career in teaching.”

Train to teach - Manchester takes place at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4FP, on 9-10 February 2007. 24 teacher training providers - universities, colleges and schools - from the North West will be at the event, and dedicated career consultants and teachers will be on hand to answer questions and give advice. There will also be a series of seminars on subjects such as training routes and how to make a good application.

For further information or to register, please visit www.teach.gov.uk/tttevents.

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