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Issue Date:- 27 January 2009

Business leaders discuss way ahead for transport across Merseyside

MAJOR changes to the way local authorities deliver sustainable transport systems in the future are the subject of a breakfast briefing in Liverpool on 27 January 2009‘Economic Growth and Environmental Quality…Can Merseyside Succeed?’ is the theme of Merseyside Transport Partnership’s business event at the Empire Theatre this morning, when a senior Department for Transport official will outline how new legislation and policies on local and regional government, including the climate change agenda, will influence the development of future transport systems.

Charlotte Dixon, the DfT’s Head of Regional and Local Strategy, will spell out the opportunities for Merseyside to address links between transport and economic competitiveness and productivity, and how transport development will help tackle climate change.  She will detail how the Local Transport Act 2008 will require the new Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) to take full responsibility for local transport planning across the city region, as well as changes in the powers to secure bus services. The name change from Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority (PTA) to ITA takes place early this year.

The DfT’s ‘Delivering a Sustainable Transport System’ programme outlines a new planning regime that will lead to a future transport system in Merseyside that will work effectively with national and international road and rail networks. It will encourage best use of investment in the wider city region, to support the creation of a transport system that supports a growing, low-carbon economy, quality of life and a healthy environment.

Mrs Dixon will also explain new draft government guidance for the development of the next Local Transport Plan (LTP3), which covers the development of the local transport system from 2011 – 2014.

Chair of the Merseyside Transport Partnership, Neil Scales, commented:- “As travel demand continues to grow and as climate change becomes an ever-more important and urgent issue, it is inevitable that changes have to be made to how we plan for and deliver a truly sustainable transport system for the future.”

Vice Chair of the Merseyside Transport Partnership, Steve Holcroft, will be chairing the breakfast briefing today. He said:- “The new DfT approach, together with new legislation and governance powers will allow us to review how we work with our partners to address key challenges - ensuring that we respond effectively to addressing climate change, while at the same time supporting the continuing economic growth of the city region.   This will be at heart of our new strategy.”

Other speakers include Jan Rowley, Assistant Executive Director Regeneration at Liverpool City Council, who will talk about ‘Transport and the Year of the Environment 2009’

Arts In Prescot:- "Organ Recital - Sacred & Secular"

ON Friday, 30 January 7.30pm at the Prescot Parish Church, Church St, Prescot an Organ Recital called:- "Sacred & Secular" will be held.  The guest organist on the nightwill be Peter Kwater of St Bartholomew's Church, Rainhill.   Admission free (retiring collection taken). 

For more information go to their website.


KNEE-jerk calls to economise, indicated by this week's headlines criticising a £700,000 investment in preventative health care by North Staffordshire Primary Care Trust, fail to look at the bigger picture, say the British dental Health Foundation.  The 5 year scheme at North Staffordshire PCT aims to arm under 5s with a toothbrush and the necessary skills to maintain good oral health throughout their life.  The Trust's decision to invest, applauded by the Foundation, marks a scheme designed to combat poor oral health among youngsters in the area. 5 year olds in the area had 1.3 decayed, missing or filled teeth, on average. The Foundation, at the vanguard of public advice into good oral health and preventative care throughout its 38 years, encourages such commitment to dental health across the industry.  Chief executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter BDS LCS (RCS) said:- "This campaign invests £15 per child per year, just 4p per day. Preventative care such as this is vital.   The 1st cavity a person experiences determines their dental health needs for the rest of their lives. Early investment can save huge sums in healthcare later in life and free dental access my minimising the frequency of visits per patient and complexity of treatments.  Such schemes go some way to explaining why Britain is at the top of the World Health Organisation's list for oral health among under 12s.  With evidence stressing more strongly than ever the links between oral health and overall health, the need for good dental care habits is clear.  The economic downturn has affected all of us, but we should not allow the situation to affect health needs. The Foundation welcomes investment in dentistry, something the public have wanted, and deserve."


UNISON, the UK’s largest public sector union, is in a press statement sent out on 27 January 2009 is calling on councils to deliver care, not cash to vulnerable adults needing their support. UNISON who now represents around 300,000 members working in social care is calling for investment in the social care workforce to be stepped up. This call by the union following a report published by the Commission for Social Care and Inspection called:- ‘The state of social care in England 2007 to 2008’.

UNISON National Officer for Social Care, Helga Pile, said:- “A lack of adequate government funding has forced councils to
deliver personalisation ‘on the cheap’. Most schemes focus on giving people cash to buy their own care, which is throwing up a multitude of problems. This is just a new variation of one-size fits all care, and it simply does not work for everyone. Our social care members want elderly and vulnerable people to be able to live independently in the community, but there is strong evidence that older people don’t want the hassle of having to manage their own care budget.

What people need is care, not cash. They need quality local services that they can rely on. To make sure we can deliver truly personalised care we are going to need more staff with more time and that means 1 million additional care workers by 2025. This is a huge target to meet and means we need to invest nor for the future to deliver a well trained, and properly paid workforce.”

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