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Issue:- 15 November  2012

£169 million Liverpool schools plan to be approved

MULTI-MILLION pound plans to deliver 12 new schools in Liverpool are set to be approved by the Mayor's Cabinet.  It is one of the key pledges of Mayor Joe Anderson, and will see £135 million invested between now and 2017 on a dozen primary, secondary and special schools.

A further £34.2 million will be spent on major investment of other schools most in need that have not previously benefited from investment through PFI or Building Schools for the Future - bringing the total spend to £169 million.

Mayor Joe Anderson said:- "Our children deserve the very best education, and this investment will deliver huge improvements in the quality of the buildings they are taught in. We have already seen the first spade going in the ground at Notre Dame, and over the next few years thousands of pupils will benefit from the investment we are making. I am also determined that we also make sure the project benefits local firms and their workforce as well and we are working to make sure that these new schools are truly made in Liverpool."

Work is already well underway on the first of the schools – Notre Dame Catholic College in Everton – which is set to open in September 2013. 

The other 11 schools to benefit are:-

Archbishop Beck Secondary – start on site at former Long Lane Depot in Fazakerley in April 2013 and opening September 2014

St John Bosco Secondary and Our Lady of St Swithin's Primary in Croxteth - rebuild on existing St John Bosco site starting in April 2013, opening September 2014

Archbishop Blanch Secondary near the City centre – rebuild on new site (TBC), opening September 2015

St Hilda's Secondary in Aigburth – rebuild on new site (TBC), opening September 2015

Holly Lodge Secondary in West Derby – rebuild on rear of existing site, opening September 2015

Bank View Special School in Fazakerley – rebuild on existing site, opening September 2015

New Park Primary in Kensington – rebuild on existing site, opening September 2016

Northway Primary in Childwall – rebuild on existing site, opening September 2016

SFX Secondary and St Julie's Secondary in Woolton – relocation of St Julies to former Lower Lee site on Beaconsfield Road to create a Catholic boys/girls campus with new buildings at SFX - opening September 2017

The Department for Education have also granted funding through the Priority Schools Building Programme which will enable Redbridge and Aigburth High Schools (special schools) to be rebuilt.

Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for education, said:- "This is fantastic news for schools in Liverpool.  We have come a long way since the Government axed wave six of the Building Schools for the Future programme was cancelled in 2010.   By working creatively with our schools we have been able to come up with alternative proposals which will transform education for thousands of pupils."

The City Council is aiming for 60% of the spending on the projects to be made with firms employing labour from Liverpool, rising to 70% across Merseyside.  It is hoped that up to 400 apprenticeships will be created, with a minimum of 250, through the life of the programme.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said:- "Schools are at the heart of life in a community, and can play a major role in the regeneration of an area by attracting families and providing community facilities. We are determined to make sure that the investment we are making delivers benefits not just for school pupils but also drives improvements in the areas in which they are based."

Funding for the project is coming from a mix of capital funding, receipts from the sale of surplus school sites and Council resources.  The report will be considered by the Cabinet on Monday, 19 November 2012.

Euro MP calls for tough action on great gas rip-off!

RESPONDING to shock claims that Britain's £300bn wholesale gas market may have been manipulated by the big power companies, Euro MP Arlene McCarthy has called for action including a full EU wide investigation into energy market manipulation.

Local Euro MP, Arlene McCarthy is Vice Chair of the European Parliament's Economic & Monetary Affairs committee and has been leading the European Parliament's calls for tougher EU laws to combat market abuse following the Libor scandal.

Arlene said:- "Following the revelations on the Libor crisis this is another case of apparent market abuse and manipulation in gas prices, which demonstrates the culture of chasing short term profits and gains in financial and commodity markets has not changed.  For some time I have feared there is an extensive cartel culture of market rigging and price fixing in the commodities markets. Companies guilty of abuse must face the full force of penalties and sanctions and jail for criminal behaviour. The FSA must take action but as UK gas is the benchmark for gas traded at EU level I will be asking European Commissioners Almunia and Barnier to take urgent action on cartels and price-fixing and introduce tough rules on the setting of benchmarks and indices in the commodities markets.  Only last week Barclays were fined $470millon for alleged rigging of US wholesale energy markets. We must now ask the question has this also taken place in Europe?"

On the impact on consumers, Arlene added:- "It would be cynical and callous if energy companies cite the rise in wholesale prices as the reason for retail price increases and in the end wholesale prices are being manipulated to increase the profits of the energy companies. Consumers will end up the victim of this great gas rip-off.  The North West region has one of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the UK at 20.3%, that's a 1/5 of the population experiencing fuel poverty. Families have seen gas and energy prices rise by between 6 and 9% this year adding on average £200 to their bills energy bills, this type of market manipulation is abuse which must be urgently tackled. Centrica, the parent company for British Gas, saw its operating profits for its domestic heating and power division rise by 23% in the first half of this year. Yet fuel poverty caused by escalating fuel prices and the squeeze on household budgets will mean pensioners are at risk of losing their lives from hypothermia this winter."

Tis' the Season to be Jolly at R local fundraising Christmas Concert

THE Royal Liverpool University Hospital is holding its first ever Fundraising Christmas concert on Wednesday 5 December.

The concert, which takes place in the stunning surroundings of one of Liverpool's most iconic buildings, St Georges Hall will feature a wide range of Christmas tunes and carols performed by Liverpool Community Choir, the hospital choir and Booker Avenue Juniors.

All funds raised will go to the new Royal appeal with the development set to begin in early 2013. R Charity has launched its new fundraising appeal to help provide the very best facilities at the new hospital.

Judith Greensmith, chair said:- "We are all really looking forward to R Christmas Concert; this will be a fantastic & memorable event for the City and the hospital. All money raised from the evening will help to ensure we have the very best facilities in our new Royal."

Solicitors Brown Turner Ross are sponsoring R Christmas Concert, David Bushell from BTR said:- "We are proud to be supporting R Christmas Concert raising vital funds for such an integral part of R City's future."

The event is also supported by Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool and Liverpool City Council, as well as Spindles Health and Leisure, The Olive Press and ISS.

The concert starts at 7.30pm, with doors opening at 7pm. Tickets are priced at £8 adult, £6 concession and £20 family ticket (2 adults and 2 children under 14). Tickets are available by calling:- 0151 706 3150. For the latest information visit Facebook or go to:-

Alexei Sayle to host Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival's 'Funny Arabs' event

THE Liverpool born comedian, author and actor Alexei Sayle has been confirmed to host the 1st in a ground breaking new series of comedy events from Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival.

The 1st outing of Funny Arabs brings acclaimed New York based Arab comedienne Maysoon Zayid to Liverpool for the first time later this month. Maysoon will perform at the Epstein Theatre (formerly the Neptune), on the afternoon of Sunday, 25 November 2012, introduced by Alexei Sayle.

Alexei will also announce a nationwide competition organised by LAAF, who are seeking new Arab comic talent. Stand up, funny scripts, plays, films, shorts, animation, songs or social and political satire; whatever the style of comedy, LAAF want to hear from anyone of Arab origin who thinks they can make people laugh! From marriage to politics, food to democracy, romance, education and celebrity culture; all topics are welcome.

Actress and professional stand up comedian Maysoon Zayid has featured on Comedy Central's The Watch List and PBS's America at a Crossroads; Muslim Comics Stand Up.

Maysoon, who lives with Cerebral Palsy, draws on her experience of disability and the trials of being a female American born to Palestinian parents for her comedy act. She has been quoted as saying:- "comedy is pain plus time."

To highlight the announcement of the nationwide competition and a series of workshops, LAAF is inviting anyone of Arab Origin to send in their funniest jokes or video clips to the following email address:-

The best selections will receive a pair of free tickets to the Funny Arabs show on the afternoon of Sunday, 25 November 2012, introduced by Alexei Sayle.

Razanne Carmey, Director of Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival said:- "Do you have 14 friends or relatives called Mohammed but each of them spelt a different way? We've been laughing about being an Arab living in the West for a long time, now it's time to share the jokes."

A great night of laughter from 2 renowned Arab comics.  Find out more at:-

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