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Issue Date:- 17 March 2009

New Channel 4 series examining cultural ideas of beauty is looking for contributors.

CHANNEL 4’s multicultural department is making a new documentary series looking at cultural ideas of beauty and the use of plastic surgery amongst people from ethnic backgrounds.

The production team are currently looking for contributors to take part.

They’d like to talk to people from Black, Asian, Middle Eastern and other ethnic groups who are currently considering cosmetic procedures or planning plastic surgery.

Please contact them to discuss what you are planning to change about yourself and why.

There is no commitment to take part in the series but hearing your experiences will be very helpful for background research.

Call Tanya or Anju in confidence on:- 0208 233 2820 or email:-

Government backing for new greener Land Rover model

THE Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced on 11 March 2009, that up to £27 million of Government support will be made available to Jaguar Land Rover for the production of an all-new car based on Land Rover's LRX Concept.

Jaguar Land Rover is looking to invest some £400 million in the project that would help safeguard jobs and lead to the production of a new greener model.

The government is supporting the project with up to £27 million under the Grant for Business Investment scheme. This is separate from the £2.3 billion Automotive Assistance Programme being discussed today at a Government seminar for manufacturers and supply chain companies.

The vehicle would be designed, developed and produced in the UK, securing production and employment at the company's Halewood facility, where it would be built.

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said:- "The Government is fully committed to supporting the UK automotive industry as it moves to a lower carbon future. This project aims to design and build a greener car in the UK, safeguarding vital skills and technologies. The project would secure production and employment at the Halewood facility and maintain the design capability for Jaguar Land Rover in the UK. This is an important investment for the future and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant support."

MPs Help Fight Unfair Energy Charges

7 MP's from the North West have backed calls to legally force energy companies to finally end the controversial practice of charging prepay customers an excess charge for their gas.

The MP'S who are backing this call are as follows:- Mr Jim Dobbin MP, Labour/Co-operative Party, Heywood and Middleton; The Hon Lindsay Hoyle MP, Labour Party, Chorley; Mrs Joan Humble MP, Labour Party, Blackpool North and Fleetwood; Dr Brian Iddon MP, Labour Party, Bolton South East; Mr Gordon Prentice MP, Labour Party, Pendle; Mr Robert Wareing MP, Independent, Liverpool West Derby; Mr David S Borrow MP, Labour Party, South Ribble

All of them supported a House of Commons motion tabled by John Austin MP which said the time had come for the Government to bring in legislation to equalise prepay bills with those charged on a quarterly basis.  The motion has so far attracted cross party support from 44 MPs.

It comes a year after the Chancellor pledged to offer a "fairer deal" to the nation's prepay meter customers in his Budget speech last March.  But research carried out by the Federation found energy companies had raked in £100m over the last 12 months in excess charges.  While E.ON, Scottish Power and Npower have dropped the prepayment meter premium, British Gas, EDF and Scottish and Southern Energy are still charging their 1.5m prepayment meter gas customers a premium.

During his Budget statement on 12 March last year, Alistair Darling said:- "We want to see the 5 million customers on prepayment meters given a fairer deal. We will work with the companies to take further action on a voluntary and statutory basis - to underpin this as necessary we will legislate."

However, in the 12 months since the Chancellor's statement, the country's prepayment meter customers have paid the big energy firms an average of £8.3m in excess charges every month.  Today, many prepay customers are still being charged excess sums for their energy, paying up to £39 a year more for their gas than those who pay via quarterly bills, and up to £122 a year more for their gas and electricity than those on direct debit deals.  According to research by the Federation, Britain's 6m prepay customers have an average household income of just £16,000 a year, with many coming from vulnerable backgrounds, such as single-parent families and those with disabilities.

Derek Long, National Housing Federation Head of North said:- "It is an absolute disgrace that these three huge, profit-laden, companies are charging some of their least well off customers the most for their gas.  British Gas, EDF and Scottish and Southern Energy must take immediate action to bring their gas prepayment meter tariffs inline with quarterly bills rates and the Government should introduce new legislation to outlaw the prepay premium."

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