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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 11 June 2007

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SIR Digby Jones, UK Skills Envoy and former director general of the CBI, has signed the Work Wise UK Concordat backing the implementation of smarter working practices across the UK. He joins many other signatories including the CBI, TUC, British Chambers of Commerce, BT and Transport for London, committed to bring about a workstyle revolution which will make the UK the most progressive economy in the world.

Sir Digby Jones said:- “The nature of work is changing, and UK business needs to come out of the dark ages and realise that it cannot continue to use working practices that originate from the 19th century. It needs to modernise, change its approach, retrain its management, and understand the benefits of new smarter working practices.  The UK faces some huge challenges in the coming years including addressing the issues of skills shortages. Recruiting and retaining good staff is going to become an increasing problem as the population ages and the marketplace becomes ever more complex and competitive.  To be able to compete in the labour market, and attract the skills they need, businesses are going to have to adopt smarter working. This is not rocket science, it is the only way forward, and the reason why I am a keen supporter of Work Wise UK and am signing the Concordat today.”

The agreement states:- “This concordat brings together the signatories in a joint statement supporting the development and implementation of smarter working practices and as an example, and encouragement, to others to do likewise. The goal is to increase significantly the use of these practices by 2011. Such advancements will not only benefit companies, communities and individuals, but the UK economy as a whole, making it more productive and competitive in the global marketplace.”

David Lennan, Work Wise UK chairman, said:- “Our current working practices, which date from Victorian times, do not allow an efficient use of the resources or skills available to businesses. The adoption of new modern smarter working practices will not only help address key issues facing the economy today, such as competitiveness, environment and congestion, but also aid the issue of staff and employee wellbeing.”

Sir Digby’s support comes the month after Work Wise UK staged the 2nd annual Work Wise Summit 16 May 2006, at which he launched the new Work Wise UK Quality Mark.  Work Wise UK, a not-for-profit initiative, is in the 2nd of a 5 year programme to promote the wider adoption of smarter working practices, such as flexible working including compressed working hours and nine day fortnights, working from home, mobile and remote working, to bring about a workplace revolution, similar in impact to the Industrial Revolution which Great Britain led in the 19th century.

Both the public and private sectors agree that the benefits of smarter working are enormous: apart from the positive implications on employees’ work-life balance and travelling time, the improvements in productivity will help the UK meet the competitive challenges presented by the emerging economies, such as India and China.

For further information about Work Wise UK and the Work Wise UK Qulaity Mark, please go to


A SOUTHPORT Euro-MP has called for the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory to be ended before anger fuelled by injustice leads to more violence across the world. 

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, who has visited Gaza and the Palestinian Territories 3 times in the past year, says that despair is a breeding ground for hostility and anger.  He said:- "How would people in Britain feel if the land they owned and the water they need was stolen, and their freedom to move outside their own town denied by an occupying army.  While we should all hope for a future that allows Israel and Palestine to exist alongside one another we should not deny the present reality that Israel's policies are no less despicable and racist than those of white South Africa in the days of Apartheid."

His call comes on the 40th anniversary of the 6-day war that shaped the modern Arab-Israeli conflict. 40 years ago Egyptian air bases woke to a devastating pre-emptive attack by Israel which within a week had conquered swathes of Arab territory. The occupation and settlement of those lands has fuelled conflict in the Middle East ever since.

A month ago Mr Davies became one of the 1st British politicians to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh who was elected last year as a representative of Hamas which is opposed to the existence of Israel.  But in this meeting which sought to clarify the policies of a new Palestinian Unity Government, Prime Minister Haniyeh said that he recognised the right of Israel to exist and respected the 1967 borders, would promote a peaceful way forward, and recognised previous agreements signed by the PLO including the two-state solution. 

Mr Haniyeh specifically disassociated his government from the programme of Hamas, and qualified his remarks by saying that he would formally recognise a State of Israel only at the same time as recognition is given to a State of Palestine.

Mr Davies says it is a matter of regret that the European Council and Commission have yet to respect the success of the efforts of the Palestinian Government to meet the EU's requirements.  He said:- "There is no longer time to put obstacles in the way of talks. Too many people have died, too may people are suffering, too many people are living in poverty and too much chaos may follow if the EU and the International Community do not urgently talk to the Palestinian Unity Government. The alternative is bloodshed, turmoil and misery for millions."

Letters To Editor:- "Murder Info. Please"

"I am trying to find any information about a murder that occured in Merseyside - possibly in Wallasey - in the late 1960s. The murder was of a man called Frederick Etherington and it is believed that he was shot. I was wondering if any of your readers could remember anything about this. Frederick was aged about 50 when he was killed and his wife was called Queenie and he had a daughter called Pamela, who was born in 1945 in Wallasey. His father Henry Etherington was a gardener at Rake Lane Cemetery in the 40s and 50s."  Regards Christina Gardner. Tel:- 01323 648390, email.

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