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Issue:- Monday, 20 June 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 12.

New company to help meet housing needs

A new housing company which could help thousands of people on to the property ladder is set to be established by Liverpool City Council. A report to the Cabinet, on Friday, 24 June 2016, is asking permission for the City Council establish a local authority owned, commercially driven 'for profit' company which, over the next few years, would develop houses on land owned by the Council and the public and private sector across the City for sale and rent. The aim is to provide new routes into home ownership for people by developing new starter homes, rent to buy properties and shared ownership schemes. The company would also act as a high quality, commercial, private landlord. Under rent to buy, tenants purchase the property at a discount after a period of time funded by the increased value and an equity contribution built up through the rental. The City Council would maximise construction employment opportunities for local firms and apprentices, and profits made by the company would be recycled back into supporting wider council services. Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "We have done an awful lot to increase the range and choice of housing in the City over the last few years by working with housing associations and developers, as well as through our innovative Homes for a Pound scheme. Our success in creating more than 5,000 new homes with private and public sector partners has improved life for thousands of residents and is generating valuable council tax income to help offset cuts in our funding from Central Government. However, despite this work, I am acutely aware that there are still far too many people simply can't get a foot on to the housing ladder in the areas where they want to live. This is an opportunity to use our knowledge and land to build properties which boosts employment, while at the same time helping people into their 1st home."

The company would not rent properties out on a social housing basis or seek to compete with housing associations. Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet member for housing, said:- "This is not a return to the days of the council being a social landlord providing mass housing. The company will operate commercially, but be very focused on social value and social responsibility and won't compete with Housing Associations. This is not about competing with other sectors, but about filling gaps in the market which the private sector is not doing, and increasing the quality of the housing market."

The company could also buy up and refurbish vacant property to support parts of the City where the housing market is struggling. Over the last 5 years a number of local authorities including Thurrock, Gateshead and Brentwood have entered the housing market on a commercial basis, and research suggests over 50 Councils in England are in the process of developing housing companies.

Manchester Sea Life Center teams up with Disney-Pixar

SEA Life Manchester has teamed up with Disney-Pixar to enable its visitors this summer to share the excitement of Finding Dory!  A special Disney•Pixar Finding Dory event will be hosted from Saturday, 16 July 2016, until Sunday, 11 September 2016, at the Manchester based attraction, as well as 11 other Sea Life centres in the UK and Ireland. Visitors will be led on an interactive trail by 1 of the new Disney-Pixar movie's star sea creatures Hank (voice of Ed O'Neill), a cantankerous Octopus. "Hank will appear in displays right through each centre, revealing amazing fishy facts and providing collectible 'letters' which will need unscrambling at the end of the journey to earn a reward. Like Finding Nemo before it, the new film is likely to inspire an interest in marine life among millions of children, which is why we're delighted to be associated with it." said event organiser Jamie Turner.

Disney-Pixar's Finding Dory tells the story of Dory's quest to find her own family, with the help of Nemo and Marlin and new characters like Hank that she meets at a Californian marine rehabilitation centre and aquarium. "We have many of the real sea creatures in our displays that the film's characters are based on. With their help we think we can reinforce the messages which are at the heart of the film, about the importance of looking after our seas and of sharing experiences with family and friends." added Jamie.

Sea Life Manchester transports visitors to an amazing underwater world, where they get to see incredible sea life from all over the planet. It is home to a whole host of sea creatures including Ernie, the Giant Green Sea Turtle, who neverfails to delight visitors, a shiver of different shark species, such as Black Tip Reef Sharks and an incredible bay of rays, which is home to beautiful Blue Spotted Stingrays. The Centres hosting the event are at London, Birmingham, Blackpool, Brighton, Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, Loch Lomond, Manchester, Scarborough, Weymouth, Cornish Seal Sanctuary and Bray (Ireland).

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