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Issue:- 20 October  2011

Business Link Is Changing

THE Government is making changes in the way it provides information and advice to people who want to start and grow their business in the UK. To find out more about the new online services, please see the promotional leaflet produced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). To see it click here.  The changes include:-

The Business Link website is being updated in November 2011 with new, easy to use services to help people start, improve and grow their businesses.

For help in locating specific information and navigating the Business Link website the new Business Link Helpline will come in to service in November and can be reached on:- 0845 600 9006.

More accessible business mentors through

International Street Market returns to Liverpool!

THE International Street Market returns to Lord Street Paradise Street and Whitechapel, Liverpool City Centre, for the autumn event.  The market will take place from Thursday, 27 October to Sunday, 30 October 2011.   Shoppers will have the opportunity to sample produce before buying following the European and Continental trend, and will offer authentic German BBQ, French bread, and cheese, South American alpaca and woollen clothing, Celtic hog roast, as well as the offer of Italian biscuits, nougat, chocolate and many more.

The market will be open from:-

10am to 8pm on Thursday
10am to 6pm on Friday and Saturday
11am to 5pm on Sunday

The Ting Tings ‘Show Me Yours’ UK Tour

THE Platinum selling British duo The Ting Tings are set to embark on a string of intimate shows with a creative difference as they team up with some of the best arts and music courses in the country as part of their ‘Show Me Yours’ UK tour.  Renowned for their artistic edge the band are on a mission to discover and champion new UK talent from the world of music, art, fashion and film. They’re giving students the chance to create fashion items for them to wear, make a music video, mix their tracks and come up with poster and artwork designs. The work will then be used and showcased by Katie and Jules at each venue.  The tour dates and locations are:-

21 November Leeds, at the Cockpit
22 November London, at the Kings College
23 November Bournemouth, at the The Old Fire Station
25 November Birmingham, at the O2 Academy2
26 November Liverpool, at the Stanley Theatre
27 November Manchester, at the Sound Control
29 November Glasgow, at the Arches
30 November Newcastle, at the O2 Academy2

Tickets are priced at £12.50 regionally, and £15 in London.

Book online by visiting:-

For further information about the band visit:-

MEP Pushes For Peace

A North West MEP who met with the father of Gilad Shalit to discuss prospects for his release has welcomed the return home of the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas.  Chris Davies says that Israel's decision to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners opens a prospect for progress towards Middle East peace that must not be missed.  The Liberal Democrat MEP, who will later this month be making a fifth visit to Gaza, said that the Israeli Government had taken a brave decision.  Chris Davies said:- "I am a strong critic of Israel's illegal military occupation of Palestinian land, but I do not underestimate the difficulties that Israel has faced in this instance. Israel has negotiated with Hamas, its bitter enemy, and although many of the prisoners released were guilty only of resisting occupation their numbers included some who had killed innocent people."   Davies praised the Israeli government for demonstrating that it was prepared to make decisions that would be opposed by many of its citizens. He said:- "An agreement between Israelis and Palestinians will require many tough decisions that will be unpopular with people on both sides. Every effort should be made to build on this small step forward and press for progress on peace and the creation of an independent Palestinian state."


UNISON has welcomed plans to keep the NHS Blood Transfusion Service (NHSBT) a public body, as a result of a commercial review in the service. The UK’s largest union had launched a massive fight-back against government plans to privatise any part of the blood service.

The Government had planned to open up the NHSBT service to private companies, with DHL and Capita in the frame. The union warned that breaking up an integrated blood service would lead to disaster. It is also wrong for private companies to profit from blood given freely by the public.

The union will continue to campaign against privatisation plans in the Government’s Health Bill. It will lead to competition, not co-operation, divert Taxpayers' money into shareholder profits for private companies and push NHS patients to the back of the queue.

Dave Prentis, UNISON’s General Secretary, said:- "The backtrack on plans to privatise parts of the NHSBT is good news for patients. It is also a victory for common sense, as it makes no sense to break up and privatise a successful and integrated service such as blood. Hundreds of thousands of donors regularly give up their blood to help save lives for free, untainted by the profit motive. Many people would have walked away from giving blood for free if they believed that private companies are making money out of it; putting lives at risk. The public backed our call to keep the NHSBT from falling into the hands of profiteers, as they know it could only end in disaster. We will continue to work together with management to help make the organisation even more efficient. It was crunch time for the blood service, it is still crunch time for the NHS. We will continue to campaign against the Health Bill, which is putting the NHS at huge risk and is being rushed through without the scrutiny the public wants and deserves."


ACCORDING to UNISON, a millions of retired public sector workers will see the real value of their pension drop, because payments will be linked to increases in the September CPI*, rather than increases in the September RPI**, says UNISON, the UK’s largest union.

Based on the average pension rates in the health and local government schemes, UNISON calculates that the move has taken more than £35 million out of the pockets of retired public sector workers in just one year alone.

September’s RPI figure has historically been used to calculate the yearly uplift in state and public sector pensions, as well as a range of other benefits, to reflect the cost of living. With CPI consistently lower than RPI, this represents a cut in pensions and other benefits, at the same time as the government is trying to claim it wants to protect pensioners.

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:- "This is nothing but a multi million pound raid on pensioners to pay down the deficit. It’s a disgrace, retired people getting a state or public sector pension did not cause the economic crisis, but they are paying for it. At the same time the government is trying to claim it is protecting pensioners, these claims are hollow. We already know that pensioners are struggling to cope with the rising cost of fuel, food and housing. From April next year, life will be a little harder for some of the most vulnerable in our society. It could push more people into poverty in their old age.  Public sector pensioners will be hit twice; once in their basic state pension, and again in the public sector pension they have saved all their working life for. Taking money out of pensioners’ pockets will also hit our chances of economic recovery. Our stagnant economic growth desperately needs people to be out spending in shops and businesses; not struggling to cope with the basic cost of living. There are fairer alternatives to pay down the deficit. Instead of clobbering pensioners, and people on a host of other benefits, the government could impose a tiny tax on financial transactions to raise billions."

The switch in pensions and benefits indexation is part of wider moves to attack pensions. UNISON is currently running the biggest ballot in history over detrimental plans for public sector pensions, and is calling on members to Vote Yes for industrial action. Government ministers are trying to raise £4 billion by making public sector workers pay more, work longer, all for less in their retirement, we believe this is a tax on public sector workers to pay down the deficit.

Reforms already made to public sector pensions have made them affordable and sustainable for the long term. The local government scheme, that council, some education workers and police and probation staff save into, could pay all its liabilities for 20 years without a single penny more in contributions. The health scheme raises £2bn for the Treasury every year, because more money is coming in than going out. Over the next five years it will raise £10 billion that will be used to top up government spending.

*CPI – consumer prices index    **RPI – retail prices index

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