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Southport Reporter

Edition No. 81

Date:- 03 January 2003

Happy New Year.  2003 at last!

Win 4 VIP tickets to Pleasureland 2003.

EURO for the UK... 2003?

THE government is due to deliver it's verdict within six months, as to whether Britain should or should not join the EURO.  As the final decision rests with the electorate, the debate hots up. According to National Statistics, "UK annual productivity growth for the whole economy improved in the third quarter of 2002. This is the second consecutive quarter following a slowdown that began in the third quarter of 2000. In the third quarter of 2002 whole economy annual productivity growth was 2.1 per cent, the fastest growth rate since the second quarter of 1998. This was up from the 1.3 per cent growth in the previous quarter due to an improvement in output growth. Quarterly growth was 1.1 per cent in the third quarter, sustaining the upward trend that started at the beginning of the year. The manufacturing sector also saw a strong pickup in productivity growth in the third quarter of 2002, following negative or no growth in the previous three quarters. In the third quarter of 2002 manufacturing productivity grew by 2.2 per cent on a year ago, up from zero growth for the previous quarter but well down on the recent peak of 6.1 per cent growth in the fourth quarter of 2000. The improved performance can be explained by the slowdown in the decline of annual output from 5.0 per cent to 2.9 per cent whereas the rate of decline in employment was sustained at around 5.0 per cent. Annual growth in unit wage costs in the third quarter of 2002 was 1.5 per cent, the lowest since the second quarter of 2000 and down from 2.5 per cent in the previous quarter. Unit wage costs growth for the whole economy has been slowing since the peak in the second quarter of 2001, initially due to moderate growth of wages and salaries but continuing due to the pick up in productivity growth. Manufacturing unit wage costs growth is now more in line with that of the whole economy at 1.3 per cent, down from 3.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2002. This reflects improved productivity performance coupled with little change in average earnings growth. Caution should be exercised in interpreting movements in productivity growth involving May or June 2002 data due to the one-off effect on output and hours worked caused by the Jubilee holidays." The question now is, as productivity is improving, how much would it effect the growth of the economy to joining the Euro?

The Financial Times newspaper last week polled eight leading economists on this question, "Would the Euro have any benefit to the British economy."  Robert Mundell, professor of economics at Columbia University, told the FT. "There is no purely scientific way of concluding that Britain's entry... would or would not unambiguously benefit Britain, the other euro countries, or the world as a whole," The economists polled by the FT included three Nobel prize winners. The three Nobel laureates were Gary Becker of the University of Chicago; George Akerlof of the University of California; and Robert Mundell of Columbia University, New York. The panel also included Alan Budd, a former member of the Bank of England's interest rate-setting committee, David Hendry of Nuffield College, Oxford; Martin Weale, director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research; Wynne Godley of Kings' College, Cambridge; and John Muellbauer of Nuffield College, Oxford. All of them said about the same. As the debate continues to hot up, the decision would be motivated in part by political considerations by the government.  So how much do we know about the Euro? If the government decides to back our entry, then it is expected that the government would call a referendum. This would be done before the next general election. Some Euro critics say entry should be seen as precursor of even closer economic integration and warn that the UK may eventually face pressure to surrender its control over tax policy if it adopts the Euro. This then makes much of the electorate nervous. On the other hand, the pound's strength against the Euro in recent years has made British goods more expensive. The knock-on effect has been for our goods to be less competitive. This is affecting our imports and exports. While recent surveys suggest that a majority of the British electorate are against adopting the Euro, there is a huge divide between the majority of the electorate and business community and some of the UK online community, who are in favour. Both exporters and internet companies are being pushed out by the exchange rates and the result will be loss of jobs according to some industry experts. The effect also hits the our home grown firms and trading in the UK, as their prices are far higher than imported goods. The result according to most leading businesses will be that the firms producing the goods will look outside the UK for production, again we lose more jobs. 

Are we informed enough to make a decision as big as this? 2003 will see if we are and the decision will have ever lasting effects on the British economic community and the community as a whole. 

Microsoft Offers Outlook 2002
 Connector For Lotus Domino Server Customers

IN London Microsoft Ltd. on the 23rd 2002 announced the release of the Microsoft Outlook 2002 Connector, a software add-in that enables users of the IBM Lotus Domino Release 5 messaging server to use the Outlook 2002 messaging and collaboration client as an e-mail client application. This is the first Microsoft-developed connector for Outlook and Lotus Domino. Outlook 2002, the Office XP personal information management and communication solution, is used worldwide to simplify e-mail communication, streamline group and personal scheduling, and provide easy access to information.

"Many of our customers with Domino servers have told us they would like to give their employees the opportunity to use the latest version of Outlook,"
said Ralf Harteneck, corporate vice president of the Communication and Meeting Services Group at Microsoft. "Microsoft strives to make Office and its family of applications as valuable as possible in a variety of IT infrastructures. The Connector is one way we're doing that and addressing the needs of those customers."

In a corporate setting, Outlook is primarily designed to run with a Microsoft Exchange server. The Outlook 2002 Connector is for companies that have chosen a Domino e-mail infrastructure  or a mixed infrastructure of Lotus and Exchange servers, but also want the rich functionality of Outlook and greater integration with Office. With the new Connector, users can easily conduct most common e-mail, calendar and contact management functions through Outlook while in a Lotus Domino environment. Employees at companies with Lotus Domino servers now will be able to utilise whichever e-mail application they are most familiar and comfortable with, whether it is Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook 2002.

"The Outlook 2002 Connector is a great example of industry cooperation responding to diverse customer needs," said Ken Bisconti, vice president of Messaging Solutions for Lotus Software at IBM. "We are pleased to contribute to the Microsoft Outlook 2002 Connector. It really gives companies great flexibility to meet their messaging needs."

Any customer with an Outlook 2002 license can use the Connector, which is a free add-in to Outlook 2002. It is available on
Office Resource Kit URL

Report by Microsoft Press Office.

Driving Information for 2003.

IAM update...

The Sefton advanced Motorists are starting the new year off with new courses.  The charity (No. 517780) is asking that any one wanting to join should ring Ray Woods now on 01704 538595 or if you want to learn how to become a Motorcycle Member ring alien Filson on 01704 579874.  You can also visit the Sefton IAM web page for more information at:- http://www.iam.org.uk/grous/sefton 

Road works update...

A570 Gyratory, Ormskirk, Lancashire Safety improvements being made. January – March 2003.

M62 Junctions Narrow lanes and speed restrictions during road and bridge maintenance. Restrictions removed for Christmas and New Year. Delays possible until end of April 2003.

Information with thanks from the The Department for Transport.

Driving tips:- Wet Roads.

FLOODED roads are one of the worst problems you can come across all year round.   If you do find a road that is flooded don’t attempt to cross if the water seems too deep.   It might be unsafe to do so and your car might also get water in.   If you do have to cross drive slowly in first gear, remerging  to keep the engine speed high up by slipping the clutch.  Doing so will stop you from stalling and flooding the engine.   Avoid the deepest water, usually near the kerb, but their might be pot hole, so keep alert.    Do not forget to dam your brakes after going through the flood before you drive at normal speed.  This will get rid of some of the excess water on your brakes allowing the brake to grip better.   

Do not Drink Drive 

It could be LIFE!

Think!!!

Southport Reporter is Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2002.