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Issue Date:- 26 May 2008


HELP the Aged is enlisting the help of The Wombles to spread a ‘green’ message and encourage more people to ‘make good use of the things that they findaround their homes.  The Charity is asking members of the public to donate any unwanted clothes, books and other household items to their local Help the Aged charity shop during National Recycling Week which starts on 2 June.

The Charity’s network of 365 shops depends upon members of the public to donate items which when sold, help to raise vital funds for disadvantaged older people.  However, for the past few years, donations to the shops have fallen which means that Help the Aged is now in desperate need of more stock.  Help the Aged hopes that by highlighting The Wombles mantra in-store during National Recycling Week, people will be inspired to think of its shops as useful local recycling hubs, somewhere to off-load unwanted household goods knowing that shop donations will be recycled and sold to raise money to support the Charity’s work.  Shop donations can include anything from clothes, books, bric-a-brac, CDs, DVDs to used stamps, toner cartridges and old mobile phones.   Furthermore, to reinforce the greenmessage, during National Recycling Week, Help the Aged will also become the first charity shop retailer to ban plastic bags in its high street stores.  To ensure that customers are not left inconvenienced by this move, the Charity will be offering a stylish, reusable shopping bag made from sustainable jute material, as one alternative.  The bag will be available to buy from 9 June 2008 for just £1.95 from any of the 365 Help the Aged shops throughout the UK and all profits from sales will go to the Charity.

Helena Brett, Head of Trading and Development at Help the Aged said:- “During National Recycling Week we want to motivate people and remind them that our charity shops, as well as being hidden treasure troves, exist as fantastic local recycling centres with an added feel-good-factor.  So whether you’re looking for some vintage summer fashion, a page turner for your holiday, or have simply de-cluttered your home and need somewhere to take all your old things, come and visit us on your high street!”  Help the Aged charity shops also provide free information and advice leaflets on issues affecting older people, their families, carers and friends and actively support the Charity's national campaigns.  To find out where your nearest Help the Aged shop is or more about recycling through the Charity visit: 


THE North West has the unwelcome accolade of being the region with the highest increase in home repossessions since last year – a hike of 24% compared to the national average of 16%.  The latest Government figures show that County Court mortgage repossessions in Southport are up by 61% from last year.

Chris Davies claims this is a visible indicator of the stress felt in many over-borrowed households and is backing his Party’s calls for more government help for those affected.

Recent research by the Liberal Democrats show that 60,000 homes in the UK are at high risk of repossession.  The study focuses on homeowners that are spending 75% of their disposable income on mortgage repayment and the number of households is double the amount that had their homes repossessed last year.  The Liberal Democrats believe a housing crash could be averted through a national network of financial advice centres.  The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) usually provides financial advice for those already in debt difficulty but comprehensive support is needed to help people before their debt becomes a crushing burden.

Mr Davies said:- “Lack of preventative advice for people is needed before it becomes too late.  Although there is some financial education and help for people when they are in difficulty the focus should be on tackling this problem before it occurs.  As living costs rise and the credit crunch starts to bite, families are forced to cut back on essentials in order to keep a roof above their heads.  All too quickly a small debt grows out of control and people don’t know where to turn.”

The Party is also calling for the government to work with the banks to ensure that as many families as possible can stay in their homes, either through payment holidays or part ownership schemes.

Chris Davies said:- “Repossession must only ever be a last resort.  Lenders must seek all possible alternatives before taking such action.


A decision by senior members of the European Parliament to reject calls for all MEPs to account for the €50,000 per year allocated to them for office expenditure has been strongly criticised by a local Euro-MP.

Chris Davies, the Liberal Democrat MEP who earlier this year revealed the existence of a secret auditors' report on the abuse of MEP expenses, described the decision by the Parliament’s Bureau as outrageous.

If confirmed it means that MEPs will not be officially required to keep receipts to justify their expenditure.  However, all the main political parties in Britain have now introduced private rules requiring them to do so.

Chris Davies, who has for some years published his office accounts annually, said the decision would enable MEPs from some countries to pocket thousands of Euros intended to help them perform their parliamentary duties.  He said:- “These plans show disregard for the interests of citizens who pay our bills.  There is no justification for the arrogant claim that MEPs are too important to keep records of their spending.  US Congressmen are quite important too but they find the time to do their bookkeeping and publish their accounts in full.”

The Bureau did confirm proposals to ban the employment of family members by MEPs, a decision said to have been heavily influenced by German practice.

Mr Davies said:- “Undoubtedly some MEPs abuse the arrangements, but in other cases a husband or wife does a proper job.  The solution lies not with bans but with proper auditing of accounts and complete transparency.”

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