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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 06 August 2007

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Local Groups Plants To Feature At The Southport Flower Show.

WORKING in collaboration with Southport Flower Show, A Foundation invited artist Lisa Cheung to develop Summer Palace a flexible, temporary, outdoor furniture installation which will provide a space for visitors to rest and refresh within the busy Flower Show. Both a public and intimate social space will be created, composed of seating and shade where free Chinese tea will be served.

The plants provided by the local groups will make a focal point for the feature and each groups story and reason for supplying the plant will be printed on the tea cups.

The following groups are involved with the project:-

CAT Horticulture Project

Practice Makes Perfect - sign language group

Old People's Forum

Southport Photographic Society

Southport Scouts

See for more information.

Survey exposes pension packages enjoyed by FTSE 100 directors

UP TO 112 directors of FTSE 100 companies are set to receive a pension worth at least £200,000 a year ­­– and 26 can look forward to a pension of at least £500,000 a year, according to Labour Research magazine’s annual survey of executives’ pension arrangements.  The Labour Research survey found that almost 80 companies in the FTSE 100 still have final salary schemes for some or all of their directors. Typically these schemes have a generous accrual rate of 1/30th of salary per year and so will pay a pension of 2/3rds salary after 20 years’ service.

The disgraced Lord Browne, the former chief executive of oil multinational BP, tops the premier pension league. Browne, who resigned in May after lying in court over his private life, can look to a happy retirement as he picks up a pension of over £1 million a year, or over £20,000 a week. Two other directors — Lawrence Fish of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Howard Frank, vice-chair of cruise ship group Carnival — are rapidly approaching the £1 million a year pension mark.

Other directors in the FTSE 100 have defined contribution schemes, where the pension is open to fluctuations in the stock market. This means that it is impossible to say how large a pension they will pick up. Nevertheless, the annual contributions made by companies to the schemes (also known as money purchase schemes) can be huge: Mick Davis, chief executive of mining group Xstrata, has had nearly £989,000 paid into his scheme and Arun Sarin, chief executive of mobile phones group Vodafone, gets contributions of 30% of his present base salary of £1.27 million, which works out at nearly £382,000 a year.

But it is a very different story for the ordinary retiree on an occupational pension. According to government figures in the Pensioners’ Income Series 2005-06, the average occupational pension for a single pensioner was £99 a week and £192 a week for a pensioner couple. So Sir Fred Goodwin at the Royal Bank of Scotland (bottom of the table below) will get almost 100 times what the average single pensioner receives.

Meanwhile a survey by the National Association of Pension Funds earlier this year found that more than 2/3rds of final salary schemes in the private sector are now closed to new members, with 1 in 10 schemes closing to new members last year.

Neal Moister, researcher for the Labour Research Department, who carried out the survey, said:- “Despite the high profile given to the huge disparity in pensions recently, this survey shows that little has changed. If anything, many of the directors we have looked at have seen their pensions go up considerably in the past year.”

Directors in the FTSE 100 with pensions of £500,000+

Director Company (year end)
Annual pension
Lord Browne [1] BP £1,050,000
Lawrence Fish Royal Bank of Scotland £992,000
Howard S Frank Carnival £940,000
Sir Francis Mackay  [2] Compass £830,000
John Sunderland [3] Cadbury Schweppes £762,000
Todd Stitzer Cadbury Schweppes £737,000
Jeroen van der Veer Royal Dutch Shell £735,000
Patrick Cescau Unilever £682,000
Dr Jean-Pierre Garnier GlaxoSmithKline £652,000
Michael Bailey [4] Compass £648,000
Robert Dickinson Carnival £628,000
Sir Terry Leahy Tesco £627,000
Sir Julian Horn-Smith Vodaphone £605,000
Paul Dacre Daily Mail & General Trust £598,000
Dr John McAdam ICI £590,000
Stephen Green HSBC £586,000
Charles Sinclair Daily Mail & General Trust £576,000
 Mike Turner BAE Systems £574,000
James Crosby HBOS £572,000
Roger Urwin National Grid £564,000
Paul Walsh Diageo £556,000
Charles Allen [5] ITV £548,000
Rudy Markham Unilever £541,000
David Brennan AstraZeneca £530,000
Gareth Davis Imperial Tobacco £520,000
Sir Fred Goodwin Royal Bank of Scotland £510,000

1. Resigned May 2007, 2. Retired June 2006, 3. Retired August 2005, but still chair, 4. Retired May 2006, 5. Resigned October 2006


THE growth of car boot sales and eBay culture hasn’t managed to overcome our traditional British dislike of the private sale according to the results of a new survey. In fact it seems that selling privately can often triggersale rage, especially amongst men in Merseyside who are fed up with hagglers and time wasters.

A poll of car sellers, conducted by online car purchasing service, which has a depot in Merseyside, revealed that we all dislike the hassles associated with selling, especially items as important as our cars.   It seems to be the other people involved that really get us mad, withhagglers and time wasters causing the most distress in Merseyside (reported as the main cause of irritation in 51% and 56% of cases respectively).  Men in Merseyside seem to find the selling process particularly stressful and are 70% more likely than women to suffer from some form of sale rage.  The survey also reveals that 14% of private car sellers in Merseyside have experienced some form of dispute over payment, such as a bounced cheque. This casts doubt on whether all the hassle was actually worth it in the first place.

Mark Briggs, Brand Manager at,  says:- “We all know that selling a car can be a stressful experience, but these results highlight the true size of the problem. It is the kind of situation that we don’t often come across in our day-to-day lives and usually involves significant sums of money changing hands. It’s no wonder we don’t enjoy it, especially when the process starts to intrude into our homes and non-work time.”

“Our aim is to take the hassle out of selling your car,” says Mark. “Allowing people to handle the transaction quickly and in a straightforward and reliable way. We will buy virtually any car for a fair price, allowing people to forget about it and get on with their busy lives.” was set up to make the disposal of old cars as simple and stress-free as possible. The business operates from large used car depots around the country, located in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the Midlands, Yorkshire, London and the South East, the North East, Wales and the South West.


19% of young people think they have been led down the wrong educational path, with 42% of these being misdirected by their own parents. The figures were released by educational foundation, Edge, as it announced a major TV and press advertising campaign aimed at tackling academic snobberyand asking parents to consider all educational and work routes to success for their children.

Many parents are influenced by ingrained prejudices against vocational qualifications, with 35% believing that vocational learning is for people who don’t do well at school.  But despite this belief, Edge’s research has found that parents don’t fully understand the wide range of learning opportunities available to young people through further education, Apprenticeships and jobs that offer workplace learning and vocational degrees.  To highlight the issues around vocational and practical learning, Edge has set up a Parents Panel, a unique study of more than 5,000 parents with children aged 11 to 16, to unravel some of the common myths surrounding learning.

The study found that the majority of parents (57%) would urge their child to pursue A-Levels and university, despite the fact that fewer than 25% know anything about many of the other options. Academic expectations are highest among professional parents, with 70% hoping that their child will go to university in comparison to 37% of non-professionals.  And parental pressure is evident, with 39% of parents whose child will take A-Levels admitting that their child will take the exams as a result of their own wish that they attend university.

Edge wants to use the information to tackle what it calls academic snobbery, the traditional bias against vocational qualifications that results in too many people evaluating personal success by academic achievement. This has contributed to 17% of parents saying that they would be disappointed if their child ended up in a practical career.  Edge’s campaign is urging parents to gain a greater understanding of the benefits of practical and vocational learning so that they can advise their children on the options that are best for them and that best suit their interests and talents.

Garry Hawkes, chairman of Edge, said:- “We’ve been concerned for some time at how academic snobbery is influencing the lives of young people and our research shows the unfortunate truth that it has resulted in thousands of young people being directed down the wrong route every year – and therefore being turned off learning.  Parents naturally want to do what’s best for their child, but by their own admission they aren’t armed with all the facts about the learning options available. And this is costing some young people dearly.  At Edge, we’re challenging all parents to stop thinking of academic qualifications as the only route to success. Parents must reassess their own views about their children’s education, listen to what their children really want from work and life and discuss all their education and career options.”

Donna Dawson, a psychologist who has been working with Edge on the campaign, commented:- “Parents naturally want the best for their children, but with so many learning options available it can be difficult for parents to work out the best choice.  Parents need to let their children know that they have their best interests at heart, and they should be prepared to have some open, honest, two-sided conversations with them about their future. This means taking the time to do this in a relaxed and thoughtful way, asking questions, and really listening to what their children are saying to them. Alongside access to the appropriate information and advice, parents will then be able to guide their children down the right educational path, without too much emotional upset along the way.”

Edge’s advertising campaign, which airs for the first time on Channel 4 and in national newspapers on 13 August 2007, aims to tackle this lack of understanding head on. It will urge parents to stop, listen to what young people really want, and take a good look at all the learning options available to them. 

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