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Issue:- 15 March  2012

Southport scientist takes her science to Parliament

MISS Lydia Murray, 26, a PhD student at Glasgow University, hailing from Southport, Merseyside, is attending Parliament next week to present her science to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of SET for Britain on Monday, 12 March 2012. Lydia’s poster on research about 'How mutations in a gene called Collagen 4 can cause haemorrhagic stroke' will be judged against dozens of other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind.  Lydia was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament on Monday.  On presenting her science in Parliament, she said:- "Cutting edge scientific research is very important and exciting, yet sadly the general public is often misinformed or completely unaware of the excellent discoveries being made around the UK. This event is a unique opportunity for scientists like me to present and discuss our work with MPs and fellow researchers from all different areas of science. I applied to SET for Britain because I passionately believe that research should be accessed, understood, challenged and enjoyed by everyone, and I also wish to learn more about how Parliament currently views and deals with scientific advances. Therefore, I am both pleased and honored to have been invited along."

Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said:- "This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers. These early career scientists are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work."

Lydia’s research has been entered into the Biology session of the competition, which will end in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony.  Judged by leading academics, the gold medallist receives £3,000, while silver and bronze receive £2,000 and £1,000 respectively.  The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee run the event in collaboration with The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry, the Physiological Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, Airbus/EADS, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, AgChem Access, Oxford Instruments, IBMS and GE Hitachi.

Online sellers offered chance to settle tax bills

PEOPLE trading on the internet who haven’t paid all the tax they owe have been offered the opportunity to come forward and pay up under an HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) campaign.  Under the time-limited opportunity, the e-Markets Disclosure Facility, online marketplace traders can pay the tax they owe and benefit from lower penalties available to those who come forward, rather than wait for HMRC to catch up with them.  Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said:- "This campaign is part of a wider HMRC initiative to provide support and guidance to the public on tax evasion and is aimed at people using online marketplaces to buy and sell goods as a trade or business and who fail to pay the tax owed. Those who only sell a few items and who are not traders are unlikely to be liable to pay tax on what they sell and will not be targeted by this campaign. Our aim is to make it easy for online traders to contact us and make a full disclosure of income, thereby putting their affairs in order."  Under the opportunity, online marketplace traders can come forward at any time between 14 March and 14 June to tell HMRC that they want to take part. They then have until 14 September 2012, to give details of the tax owed and arrange for full payment, including any interest and penalty due. If they make a full disclosure of what they owe before 14 September 2012, some will receive no penalty at all, with most receiving a penalty of no more than 10% of the tax owed. After that date, using information pulled together from many different data sources, HMRC will investigate those who have failed to respond. The department has recruited additional investigators and will pursue those who have failed to declare their earnings and pay up. Penalties of up to 100% of the tax owed or even a criminal investigation could follow.

To take part:-

People must register with HMRC to "notify" that they plan to make a voluntary tax disclosure by 14 June 2012.

They then have until 14 September 2012, to tell HMRC about tax due and make arrangements to pay any tax interest and penalties owed. This is called:- "making a disclosure."

How do they do this?

From 14 March 2012, online  by completing a notification form.

Phone HMRC on:- 0845 601 2944. A dedicated team is available to give information.

A YouTube video is available giving guidance to people wondering whether their buying and selling on an e-market place website can be seen as trading.  HMRC will also hold an online Twitter Q&A on the e-Markets Disclosure Facility on 28 March. Details will be published in advance on HMRC’s Twitter account at:- HMRCgovuk.  So far more than £500m has been raised by HMRC from voluntary disclosures, and a further £105m from follow-up activity. Previous campaigns have targeted offshore investments, medical professionals, plumbers and VAT defaulters.


UNISON North West condemns proposals by Merseyside Local Authorities to make cuts in the region of 55% and over at a time when 1 in 5 young people are unemployed:-

"Government actions have wiped out existing careers provision in England and plans for the future service delivered by schools are unfunded and unclear. A £200m pa saving has been made by Department for Education (DFE) even though thousands of young people in years 9, 10 and 11 have been left without advice this year and next. Local Authorities, due to financial pressures, have made massive cuts in careers services provision in both 2010/11 and 2011/12. About 4,000 staff have been made redundant already and a further 4,000 are at risk over next year. Advice centres and services have closed. This is before a new careers service has been designed and before the passage of the current Education Bill which transfers commissioning responsibility from Local authorities to schools for September 2012. In many cases this could contravene the current statutory minimum service levels expected."
said UNISON.

UNISON research has revealed that of 144 local authorities that only 15 will maintain what the researchers termed as a "substantial" universal careers service.

They identified 12 councils as making extreme cuts to Connexions services and at least 49 as reducing or removing the universal careers element of the Connexions service.

At least 105 councils have reduced staffing levels and 50 have closed Connexions centres.

"Tens of thousands of young people effectively have no access to 'face to face' career guidance services and in some Local Authorities, no service is being provided at all. Current 14 to 19 pupils will, without doubt, be the least informed about their future career options in a generation, at a time when the Government has radically changed the education and training environment by; abolishing the Education Maintenance Allowance and the Future Jobs Fund, raising HE tuition fees, reducing the number of HE / FE places An important message for parents of children currently in Year 10 or Year 11: for the year 2011/12 career guidance services will be a geographical lottery. In some areas young people leaving compulsory education will have no access to independent, expert career guidance at all."
added UNISON in a press release.

Andrew McGregor, UNISON lead steward for Connexions in the North West argued:- "The threat of a lost generation of young people looms large. The dangers this poses to our society as a whole are huge – unemployment, poorer health, higher crime and social breakdown. At the same time as many local authorities are decimating the Careers and Connexions Service, unemployment among 16-25 year olds has reached record levels, with more than a million young people struggling to find work. Just when they need it most, hundreds of thousands of young people across England will have either very limited, or even no access to ‘face-to-face’ career guidance. Unless Ministers intervene, the class of 2011/12 will be the least informed about their career options."

Police work hard to dive down crime

MERSEYSIDE Police officers have been working hard with their colleagues in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire in an operation to combat burglary in across the region. Main routes across Merseyside were "locked down" by mobile automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) in an attempt to deny criminals the use of the region's roads.

Inspector Phil Ross, who co-ordinated the Merseyside activity said:- "The operation included us talking to burglary suspects as well as visiting second hand shops to make sure owners had not been sold any stolen goods. As well as targeting offenders, Wednesday's operation gave us the opportunity to urge residents to secure their homes. People have every right to feel safe in their own homes and ensuring that windows and doors are locked properly could make them less likely to become victims."

During the operation, in Merseyside:-

154 vehicles were stopped
11 vehicles were seized
62 searches were undertaken
22 people were arrested
12 fixed penalty notices were issued
300 cannabis plants were seized

Inspector Ross continued:- "Wednesday, 7 March 2012's operation was a great success and we will continue to work with our colleagues in neighbouring forces to reduce the number of burglaries across the North West."

Anyone with information about burglary can contact Merseyside Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on:- 0800 555 111.

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