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Issue:- 16 September 2010

Britain is ‘best’ for business?

NORTH West business leaders have delivered a real vote of confidence in Britain as the best place in the world for their business, according to new research by Yorkshire Bank.  More than 7 out of 10 North West businesses agree that the UK economy offers good long-term prospects for business growth and, despite the challenges in recent years, 76% still believe Britain is a good place to start a new business.

Contrary to reports earlier this year which warned that many businesses might leave the UK to avoid changes to tax regulations, just 20 British businesses out of 1,010 surveyed nationally (less than 2%) claimed to have had any plans to shift their companies off-shore in the medium to long-term. None of the 80 business owners surveyed in the North West said they had plans to move their company abroad.

However, China (15%) followed by New Zealand (8%) and Australia (8%) topped the list of places business owners might consider if they could relocate or set up a new business in another country.  The North West’s strong transport and communications links (29%) and location (20%) were identified as “the best thing going” for businesses in the region.

Brian Colquhoun, regional director Yorkshire Bank, said:- “Business leaders have demonstrated their clear commitment to the UK and shown how much the country is integral to their company’s success and future plans.  Despite recent economic challenges, British businesses appear to be positive about the UK’s potential to deliver stability and growth opportunities to their business, so much so that they clearly have no intention of upping sticks and moving overseas.”

Research by Yorkshire Bank earlier this year revealed that over the next 12 months most UK companies plan to reinvest at least 6% of turnover back into their business for commercial growth. 48% of companies questioned said they would commit the spending to areas such as recruiting staff, new equipment and premises.

Brian Colquhoun added:- “The UK’s business community appears positive about the country’s ability to enable business growth. With an economy that is starting to show signs of stability and a marketplace that offers strong businesses real opportunities, it is clear why business leaders have confidence and commitment towards what the UK has to offer.”

To help strong businesses realise their potential Yorkshire Bank’s Investing for Growth initiative is designed to help successful businesses grow and develop by easing their cashflow pressures. It offers both new and existing business customers a dedicated planning service and a more flexible approach to lending.

Would you agree with the Yorkshire Bank?  Email us your views to


IN 1958 a party of 28 Liverpool City police cadets, led by the then Chief Constable Sir Charles Martin, together with their Drill Instructor Acting Sergeant John Edwards, visited Germany, as part of a goodwill visit, meeting with fellow officers in Lower Saxony.

In 2008, some 50 years later, a small number of the original cadets from Liverpool, this time with their wives, returned to town of Hann Munden, and this week nine German officers have returned the favour. This week they have been out and about in Liverpool with retired officer Alan Bonner and other colleagues who were part of the original trip.

On Tuesday, 7 September 2010, the officers enjoyed a breakfast meeting with Deputy Chief Constable Bernard Lawson, where he answered questions about policing Merseyside in 2010.

DCC Lawson said:- "It is always a pleasure to welcome colleagues from other police forces, and meeting these officers from Germany has been a great opportunity to talk about the differences and the similarities in police work internationally. I was more that happy to be a part of this historic trip, as well as meeting some of those retired Merseyside officers who were part of the original exchange in the 1950s."

Alan Bonner said:- "Our welcome in 1958 was only surpassed by the reception we received fifty years later and we now to have the pleasure of returning their hospitality by showing them the beauty and history of this City. “

Retired former Superintendent John Edwards, now 84, is a Blue Badge Guide for Liverpool and was central to the planning of what the officers would see while they were here in Merseyside. He said:- "The visit to Hann Munden in 1958 by a party of Liverpool City police officers and cadets at the invitation of the authorities in (the then) West Germany helped to build relations between the two countries after the war years and that visit laid the foundation for others to follow. Later that year a party of German Police trainees and their officers visited Liverpool for a fortnight. When the Liverpool party visited Hann Munden on the fiftieth anniversary in 2008 they were told by their German hosts that in their visit of 1958 the group from Britain had taken 'a leap of faith' to go to a country that they had been at war with for so long but that the visit had built many bridges for others. Our visit in 2008 and the reciprocal visit by the German group today indicates that bridges are still being built towards good relations between nationals of both countries."

Report and photos by Linda Simans

DESPITE getting off to a decidedly damp start, on Saturday, 11 September 2010, the Green Fayre in Hesketh Park was voted a great success by eventgoers and exhibitors alike. Transition Southport, who organised the eco event in conjunction with Sefton Leisure and Tourism, would like to thank the band of volunteers who gave their time, and would especially like to thank Park Ranger Ian Collison for stepping into the breach and providing music when DJ Andy Kormel’s car broke down on the way to the event. Johnny Sheldon’s students put on a well thought-out and energetic display of street dance.

The Health and Wellbeing Marquee managed to provide a staggering 70 plus free massages over the course of the event, and the stack of free municipal bagged compost quickly disappeared by midday. Brighter Living gave away many kilos of fruit along with their healthy eating message. One of the aims of the event was to support local eco businesses and local environmental, sustainability and health initiatives, and some exhibitors commented that they actually had a better response than at other events, as they had the opportunity to speak to local residents rather than out-of-town visitors.

Dave Morris, North West rep for the National Society of Allotments said:- "It was very rewarding, and great to meet people interested in growing produce locally. We developed a number of good contacts which we can follow up. It will be an even bigger success next year – please invite us back!"

Richard Jenkinson from the plumbing and renewables business NWPL commented:- "We’ve had a very good response which has given us several leads to follow up – and we’ve had a lot of interest in renewables and given out loads of literature. We’ll definitely be coming back next year – you’ll have to fight me off! We feel it’s really important to support local events."

Sustrans campaigner Dug Heaven said:- "If it hadn’t been for the bad weather at the beginning, we would have been completely snowed under! We’ve shifted a phenomenal amount of leaflets and cycle maps – it’s been very worthwhile."

"We were surprised at the lack of awareness in Southport about the plight of the local red squirrel population. Coming here has been fantastic to meet local people and see how interested they are in the squirrels." said Amy Campbell of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, who spent the day painting squirrel faces on delighted youngsters.

Gig Hardy of Merseyside Bio Bank would like to appeal to individuals and community groups to send in the wildlife records promoted at the event. "It’s been brilliant. The event has had a good turnout."

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