Southport Reporter (R) Online Nespaper for Merseyside

Read our Tracking & Cookie Usage Policy


Terms and Conditions

Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
Covering the news in and around Merseyside


Click on here to email our news room today!



Your free online newspaper for Merseyside
This website is licence to carry news from and UK Press Photography.



Latest Edition



Order Photos  Help Client Admin Advert Options

Updated over every Wednesday night for every Thursday.              

Your news...   Your words...

Issue:- 7 October 2010

Electoral Commission publishes report on voting system referendum question

THE question for the proposed referendum on the UK Parliamentary voting system should be changed to make sure voters find it easier to understand, according to an assessment published by the Electoral Commission. 

The Electoral Commission – the independent elections watchdog – is required to assess the intelligibility of the proposed referendum question, to ensure that people can understand the question they will be voting on.

The Commission undertook research to find out whether people could easily understand the proposed question. On the whole, people taking part in the research found the UK Government’s proposed referendum question clear and understood what it was about. But some people, particularly those with lower levels of education or literacy, found the question hard work and did not understand it. The structure of the question, its length, and some of the language used made it harder to read than it needed to be.

The Commission has recommended a redrafted question that addresses these issues.

The Commission also reports that, so far, voters have a limited understanding of the voting systems they will be asked to choose between in the proposed referendum on 5 May 2011. The elections watchdog identified a gap in public knowledge and understanding of what ‘first past the post’ means and, in particular, what the ‘alternative vote’ electoral system is.

Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, said:- “We have an important role to play in providing an independent check that voters find the referendum question easy to understand and the best way to do this is to ask the public themselves.   People told us that the wording of the question – with some changes – was easy to understand. However, they have a limited knowledge of what the ‘first past the post’ system is and almost no understanding of the ‘alternative vote’ system.  Our research took place without the campaigns and extensive media coverage that will be in place in the run up to the referendum. We found that when participants had more information on how both systems worked, their understanding improved and they could cast their vote in the way they intended.  Campaign groups and the media will play an important role in the run up to the referendum. And the Electoral Commission will also be playing its part, by providing every household in the UK with information on both voting systems and how they can cast their vote.”

The Commission carried out qualitative research with voters from across the UK and a variety of age groups and backgrounds. The Commission also consulted experts on accessibility and plain language including the Welsh Language Board, as well as campaign groups and other interested parties.

The question assessed by the Commission is contained in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill currently before the UK Parliament. The final wording of the referendum question is a matter for the UK Parliament.  The Commission’s report on the proposed question is now online.

Future increases and better enforcement of the National Minimum Wage are essential

THE shopworkers union Usdaw has welcomed the increase in the National Minimum Wage and has again called on the Coalition government to commit to an annual review and increase of all rates.  The Union also wants to see payment of the adult rate from 18 and for more resources to be put into enforcement and raising awareness of the National Minimum Wage among vulnerable workers.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:- "Usdaw welcomes today's increases and in particular the payment of the adult rate of the National Minimum Wage from 21 years of age instead of 22. Usdaw has been campaigning for the adult rate to be paid to workers over 18 for several years and while this small step forward is welcome, we believe there is still a very strong case for payment of the adult rate at 18. Most companies we have agreements with pay adult rates at 18 and a number have abolished junior rates altogether, paying the same rate to all workers over 16. This recognises adult responsibility and the fact that it is deeply unfair to pay young people less for doing exactly the same job as their older colleagues.  Future annual increases are essential to ensure the living standards of the lowest paid are maintained, keep pace with earnings throughout the economy and some in-road is made to ending the serious problem of low pay that still exists in this country.  Usdaw is concerned that in future years the coalition might freeze rates and we fear that the enforcement budget might be slashed in the October spending review, all of which will greatly undermine its effectiveness in protecting low paid workers.  The Government should also make sure low paid workers see the benefit of today's increase by avoiding changes to the tax and benefits system in the spending review that would worsen the living standards of the most vulnerable workers in the economy."

Usdaw welcomes arrival of the Equality Act

THE shopworkers union Usdaw has welcomed the arrival of the Equality Act, the first provisions of which finally came into force on Friday, 1 October 2010.  The Act fulfils a manifesto pledge made in 2005 by the previous Labour Goverrnment and brings together all nine major pieces of equality law, including the Disability Discrimination Act and Sex Discrimination Act, into a single piece of legislation designed to update, simplify and strengthen UK anti- discrimination law.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:- "Usdaw very much welcomes the implementation of the Act as it will significantly strengthen protection from discrimination, particularly for disabled workers and carers.  Regrettably, discrimination and inequality are still too often part of the world of work. It can not only devastate the lives of those on the receiving end but it also has a damaging impact on everyone else in the workplace. Tackling discrimination and promoting equality is one of the defining principles of the Trade Union movement and the Equality Act boosts our ability to ensure everyone is treated fairly and with dignity and respect at work.   Treating people fairly at work can also help toward a successful recovery of the economy. Far from being a luxury only to be considered when times are good, strengthening rights to equal and fair treatment at work are in the current economic climate more necessary than ever. Measures to protect the most vulnerable groups of workers are vital for economic growth, business success and social justice."

Our radio station phone in message line...   Call us now!

Sign up to our Daily Email News Service BETA Test by clicking here now...

Southport & Mersey Reporter - leading the way for local news.  We where the UK's first online only newspaper!

Highlighted events that are taking place this month:-

If you have an event and want to get it noticed, let us know by emailing us to:-

Click on the event title displayed above to find out about lots more events, as well as dates & times!

Our websites in our online series.   Group navigation, information and useful none group links...
Southport TV - Our online video archive. Liverpool Reporter - Our online music station. Mersey Reporter - OUR HUB WEBSITE.
Southport TV Liverpool Reporter Mersey Reporter Formby Reporter

Add to Google

This is what the moon is doing tonight.  Click on to find out why.

See the view live webcamera images of the road outside our studio/newsroom in the hart of Southport.

Our live Southport Webcam.  To see click live, click on image.


Show us your location
Please sign our map and let us know where you are  from....


News Room Phone Number

(+44)  08443 244 195
Calls will cost 7p per minute, plus your telephone company's access charge. 

Calls to this number may be recorded for security, broadcast, training and record keeping.

This online newspaper and information service is regulated by IMPRESS, the independent monitor for the UK's press.

How to make a complaint

Complaints Policy  -  Complaints Procedure  -  Whistle Blowing Policy

© PCBT Photography & PBT Media Relations Ltd. - Southport Reporter® is the Registered Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope