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Issue:- 23 September 2010

11,000 public servants face dole in Lib Dem’s North West seats

MORE than 11,000 public servants face the dole queue in the seats of the North West’s 5 Lib Dem MPs.  A further 7,000 private sector jobs are also at risk in the same constituencies if massive cuts in public spending are imposed.   And trade unionists have appealed to the North West’s 5 Lib Dem MPs – the Lib Dem5 – to support the TUC’s call to change course.

Delegations from the North West TUC are meeting 4 of the 5 Lib Dem MPs in the Region to press the case against cuts in public services and the damaging knock-on effect on the private sector.  The meetings were happening on the eve of the Lib Dem’s Annual Conference in Liverpool on Sunday when party delegates will also face a mass lobby from angry trade unionists about their support for the Coalition’s ‘slash and burn’ policies.

The warning about job losses in Lib Dem seats came after an analysis of official figures by the North West TUC. It revealed the number of public sector workers in each of the 5 constituencies, together with the jobs lost from a 25% in public services. It also revealed the knock-on effect on private sector jobs in each constituency and the total jobs lost in the public and private sector per constituency.

Seat Public servants 25% cut Priv jobs cut Total
Hazel Grove 4325 1081 692 1773
Withington 9421 2355 1507 3863
Southport 9743 2436 1559 3995
Cheadle 13395 3272 2143 5492
Burnley 9189 2297 1470 3767

North West TUC regional secretary Alan Manning said:- “Our figures show the scale of the jobs that will be lost in Lib Dem seats if their MPs continue down this Coalition road to disaster.  11,000 public servants will lose their jobs in these five seats alone, with a further 7,000 staff from the private sector who will be dumped onto the dole queue as orders dry up.  None of these Lib Dem MPs stood for wholesale cuts in public services at the General Election last May. They have no mandate for cuts – we all know that many people voted for them to stop a Conservative Government, not keep one in power.  It is not too late now for Lib Dem MPs to change course and resist this ideological attack on public services and the people who rely on them. We would appeal to these MPs to support the union case for growth, rather than causing irreparable damage to local communities and the most vulnerable as well as harming our economic recovery.”

Mr Manning will put the case against cuts in a series of meetings on Friday with Cheadle Lib Dem MP Mark Hunter, Withington’s John Leech and Southport’s John Pugh before the start of the Lib Dem conference and at a later meeting in the town with Burnley’s Lib Dem MP Gordon Birtwistle.

Hazel Grove’s Lib Dem MP Andrew Stunell has yet to respond to the request for a meeting.

The LibDem's are being deliberately targeted by trade unionists in the region as part of their NW TUC's Proud to serve the public campaign (

They say the Lib Dems have no electoral mandate for the scale and speed of the cuts that David Cameron’s government are now embarking upon.

BUT, do readers think that it might be better now to cut than to propose and worsen problems, as the Coalition now says is the case?  Also is it Labour behind the Union's views after being rejected, risking the collapse of the Coalition and plunging the country into further problems, that they have left us in?  Email is your views to:-

Bag it and bin it

MERSEYSIDE is joining the campaign to fight the dog poo fairy myth.  Liverpool City Council and Wirral Council have joined forces with Keep Britain Tidy to wage war against irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets.  The campaign calls on dog owners to take responsibility and bag and bin their dog’s mess, as there’s no such thing as a dog poo fairy!

To mark the launch, poop-scoop bags will be handed out at Stanley Park by councillors from both Liverpool and Wirral councils and the city’s enforcement team.

Liverpool city council’s assistant cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Tim Beaumont, said:- “Most owners do clean up after their pets, and it’s just a minority of people who leave mess littered on our streets, in parks and around our countryside.  The aim of this campaign is to get the message across that the mess can be thrown in any general litter bin and so there really isn’t any excuse not to pick up after your pooch.”

Wirral Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Gill Gardiner, said:- “In Wirral, we continue to be plagued by a number of persistently irresponsible owners who are failing to grasp the message that fouling is socially unacceptable and definitely something that the community don’t want to see.  I am pleased that the majority of dog owners are more responsible these days, however we do need to encourage owners to 'bag it and bin it' by making greater use of litter bins as well as taking their 'litter' home.”

There are around 8 million dogs in the UK, producing approximately 1 million tonnes of faeces each year – enough to lay 1,300 Wembley pitches.  A recent Keep Britain Tidy survey revealed 4 out of 5 respondents were not aware that they could throw the mess in any litter bin.

Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, Phil Barton, said:- “Dog fouling is the most offensive type of litter on our streets and is constantly rated as one of the most important issues blighting local areas.  Having our streets and parks caked in dog mess is disgusting. It looks unsightly, can make areas appear run down, is unpleasant for those who stand in it and is dangerous to our health.”

In recent years, there has been a growing problem of dog waste bags found hanging on trees, on railings or stuffed in hedges. It would appear some dog owners are picking up their dog’s mess bet then simply dumping the bags.

Public sector should stick to its 10 day payment target

THE Forum of Private Business is calling on the UK’s public sector to retain its target of paying small firms in 10 days following a new ruling to make 30 days the standard across the European Union (EU).

The European Parliament and European Council have agreed to new legislation amending the EU Late Payments Directive in order to address the widespread problem of late payment across Europe, including imposing a standard 30 day deadline for payments.  While welcoming the development, the Forum is concerned that many public sector bodies could abandon the UK’s own domestic 10 day target, which was announced in 2008.

“If approved by the European Parliament, as expected, these new rules under the Late Payments Directive should make significant inroads in tackling the £24 billion hole in the UK's economy caused by late payment to small businesses. However, although it is still not a widespread success across the public sector, abandoning the UK’s domestic 10-day payment target would be a significant step backwards in tackling the culture of poor payment.  Central government departments, for example, are largely meeting the 10-day target and it is important that the UK’s public sector continues to strive to set the standard for other countries and private companies to follow.” said the Forum’s Chief Executive Phil Orford.

The Forum is pleased that the European Commission’s initial proposal to allow debtors and creditors to agree payment terms separately has been scrapped.

According to members of the not-for-profit business support and lobby group there is rarely any scope at all for a small business supplier to properly negotiate terms with large customers, so this would have effectively amounted to an opt-out clause for many big businesses.  If a payment is late, authorities will have to pay a surcharge of 8% on the money owing, as well as fixed compensation of €40 (approximately £27) for the creditor’s recovery costs.

Although 30 days has been deemed standard, in exceptional circumstances most public authorities can extend this to 60 days if they have ‘special justification’.  However, public healthcare providers can be afforded a maximum deadline of 60 days because of the special nature of bodies such as public hospitals which are, according to a European Parliament, statement ‘largely funded through reimbursements under social security systems.’  This exemption risks undermining work carried out in the UK that has led to some NHS trusts paying within the 10 day target – and could prevent others from improving their payment times.

Research carried out by the Forum has discovered some NHS trusts are paying more than 90% of their bills within 10 days.  However, others are processing absolutely none in the timeframe – and some are barely managing to pay one in five invoices within 30 days.

The Forum used the Freedom of Information Act to reveal the figures and found at least 5 NHS trusts had paid fewer than 1% of their bills in 10 days over the past year. Additionally, at least 35 trusts processed fewer than 10% within 10 days. 

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Lancashire emerged as the best-performing trust in England for 10-day payment, paying 94% of invoices within 10 days. Three trusts in London and the South East were joint worst on this count, all reporting 0% figures.

The Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the West Midlands was the best for 30-day payment, processing 99.9% of bills within the month. The Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was the worst, with a figure of 18.7% for 10-day payment.

When compared with the Forum’s similar FoI research on local authorities, NHS trusts perform much more poorly on prompt payment. Recent research found 44% of invoices to English councils were being paid within 10 days, but only 31% of bills were paid as quickly by NHS organisations.  Similarly, the average NHS bill in England took 26 days to be paid, compared to 18 days for local authority invoices.

However, figures from credit management body Intrum Justitia show how important the new rules will be to help exporters improve their cash flow by reducing their exposure to poor payment.  In Italy, for example, the average private sector payment time will have to decrease by over a month, from 66 days, and the public sector will be forced to cut its average invoice payment time by a massive 70 days.

The Forum has campaigned extensively against the practice of late payment. It was instrumental in lobbying for the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act, which was introduced in 1998 and provides firms with a right to charge interest on late payments. 

The Forum's work also led to the introduction of the Prompt Payment Code – a list of companies pledging to pay smaller suppliers on time and in full.  However, too few of the UK's bigger businesses have signed up to the code, and many small suppliers are afraid to come forward and take them on publicly or in the courts.

The organisation is helping business owners to minimise the damage caused by late payment via its Finance Director business support solution, which provides members with debt recovery, business monitoring and credit reporting services and an online late payment calculator.

The Forum also gives business owners a voice to speak out against late payment via its Communication Director business support solution and will treat all communications on late payment sent to:- anonymously.


A 29 year old man from Southport has been arrested following an incident at the Coast Bar on West Street in Southport in the early hours of this morning of Friday, 17 September 2010. Officers attended the scene just after 1.15am and arrested the 29 year old man on suspicion of causing GBH after an incident that led to a 20 year old man's ear being bitten off. The victim was taken to hospital for treatment. The 29 year old is currently in custody awaiting questioning by detectives. Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to call Merseyside Police on:- 0151 777 3164 or 0151 777 3165, or Crimestoppers, anonymously on:- 0800 555 111.

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