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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 03 March 2007

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CRAFTY British workers are ripping off employers to the tune of a billion pounds a year, according to new research. 22% of British workers (6.3 million) admit they regularly fiddle their company expense claims.  The survey conducted among 4000 UK British workers by Travelodge identified the typical worker pockets an extra £14.60 every time they claim – which is on average once a month. This means employees make an extra £175.20 a year through dodgy expense claims, totaling a whopping £7,796 over a working lifetime.

27% of men will claim more than they have spent compared to 18% of women.  A smug 46% of British workers believe swindling expense claims is a legitimate way of making extra cash and 59% of people said all their colleagues “are doing it”. Just 7% of those polled said they feel guilty about inventing claims.  5% of British workers admitted to using their expense account to impress the opposite sex whilst 8% of businessmen took the liberty of claiming cash for hotel adult channels.  34% of men have claimed for booze on their company account compared to 23% of female workers. However 42% of female workers have admitted to claiming expenses for new clothes and accessories.

Listed below are some of the more outrageous claims highlighted in the Travelodge research:-

* Extravagant holidays to Monte Carlo, Paris and New York

* Neutering a cat

* Hamster for son’s birthday present

* Services rendered by a “lady of the night” whilst abroad

* Pregnancy kit for a 1 night stand

* Masonic door knocker

* Collectable stamps for personal collection

* Dancing lessons

* Family trip to Disney World

* Luxurious Caribbean cruise

* Gucci watch

* Used wife’s receipt to claim a USA flight - she worked in a different company

* New furniture for the house

* Condoms

* New wardrobe of clothes (after wife threw respondent out of the house)

Despite rampant claims fiddling, only a mere 4% of employees have been caught out by their bosses. A devious 8% of those polled said they would purposely add more to their monthly expense claims if their boss was annoying them.  More than 75% of employees use their own personal money for work expenses with only 12% having the privilege of a company credit card.

Guy Parsons, Travelodge Chief Operating Office said:- “Our research certainly highlights some outrageous flouting of expenses claiming policies but it is everyday claims that are being manipulated on a more regular basis. Extra mileage claims or the odd bottle of wine whilst entertaining can really rack up a business’ bill over the year.”

The top 10 most popular claims highlighted within the research include:-

Train tickets
Food & drink
Car parking
Mobile phone bill
Plane tickets
Wining and dining clients

Green light for James Street works

Artists impression of the new-look James Street Station

A £2 million package of improvements to James Street Station in Liverpool has been given the green light.  Merseytravel is carrying out the works, which will improve facilities for both rail and bus passengers, in partnership with Liverpool City Council, Merseyrail and Network Rail.  Contractors will be on site from Summer this year and the works are due for completion by the end of the year.

Liverpool City Council planners have given the go-ahead for the works, which are linked to the £73 million City Centre Movement Strategy (CCMS) currently being implemented by Liverpool City Council, Merseytravel and Liverpool Vision.

Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel, said:- “James Street is already an important interchange and, as the city grows towards 2008 and beyond, it will become even more so. The aim is to improve public transport facilities for everyone using James Street, whether they are visiting, living or working in the city.”

Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel, added:- "Our aim is for an integrated transport network accessible to all and these plans will help us achieve that with James Street. We hope they will play an important role in improving access to the commercial and retail heart of the city."

Close to the city’s commercial area and major developments including the Kings Waterfront and Pier Head/Mann Island, the works will provide an important gateway to the emerging Liverpool One project.

The plans include widening the footpath outside the station (towards Castle Street) to improve pedestrian access to and from the train station, as well as waiting areas for bus passengers.  A new canopy will be built over the station entrance, giving the station more prominence and better weather protection for passengers.  Work planned inside the station includes a refurbished and extended booking hall, a fully accessible toilet and a revamp of the external facade of the station building.

Bus shelters will also be designed to blend in with the new station canopy and signing and information improved.


WORK Wise Week this year will run from Wednesday 16 May 2007 to Tuesday 22 May 2007, and will include National Work from Home Day on Friday 18 May 2007.  Work Wise UK is a national not-for-profit initiative to promote ‘smarter working’ practices such as flexible, remote and mobile working, and working from home. It is supported by a number of leading organisations including the CBI, TUC, British Chambers of Commerce, BT and Transport for London. The objective is for half the working population, some 14 million workers, to have had the opportunity to work smarter by 2011.

In 2006, Work Wise Week, including National Work from Home Day, was a huge success, prompting over 85 television and radio interviews, and upwards of 500 articles and news stories. This year media interest is expected to be even stronger.

Work Wise Week 2007 will start with a summit at the QEII Conference Centre in London where Ministers and business leaders will review the progress of the first year of the campaign. The following days of the week will include separate focuses upon the impacts of smarter working on the environment, on transport, on staff welfare, and on the employer through higher productivity. There will also be several regional events around the country following the same themes.

Further information about Work Wise UK can be found on the website (

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