Brexit no deal is relegation from Premier
League to 3rd Division - EU Trade Chair Karim
TRADE Chief MEP, Sajjad Karim, on 20 October 2017, has
challenged the Brexit no deal advocates saying they effectively want to relegate
the UK to 3rd division status. The comments by Mr Karim; who Chairs the
International Trade Committee's Monitoring Group for South Asia within the
European Parliament; echo a leaked treasury report that emphasizes the high risk
to Britain's economy if it was to exit the EU without a deal. The document
states that all the countries that have a free trade agreement with the EU or
preferential access as a developing country would have better access to the
single market than the UK. This would mean that Britain would have less access
to the single market than countries, such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.
Pakistan's trade status; which was delivered as a British Government initiative
under David Cameron; with the EU, the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+),
allows originating products to be imported into the EU at a reduced or zero rate
of duty. The scheme helps developing countries manage the new responsibilities
that come from ratifying and implementing 27 core international conventions on
human and labour rights, environmental protection and good governance.
Speaking in Brussels, Mr Karim said:- "There is great irony
in the situation we find ourselves in where the countries we, the UK, have
helped gain greater access to the EU could now end up having better access than
us. The UK has always been the best friend for Commonwealth countries in terms
of pursuing their EU interests, but without a deal, we would leave ourselves
with less access than many of those countries who we used to advocate for in the
EU. The EU is the largest trading partner of virtually every non-EU Commonwealth
country we willingly supported at an EU level. Naturally, they will have to
drift towards the remaining EU27 countries to protect their interests and this
will have a detrimental effect on our bilateral relations with such Commonwealth
countries also. Why then would we put ourselves in this situation? We cannot
allow the no deal preachers to effectively relegate the UK from the top tier of
trade to the lowest league. It simply should not be an option."
Did you know that:- Mr Karim was instrumental in
Pakistan gaining its coveted GSP+ trade status and in 2015 was awarded the
Sitara-i-Qaid-i-Azam; the highest national honour to non-Pakistanis for services
that have helped the country; joining ranks with the British Queen and Nelson
Cost of childcare has risen more than 4 times
faster than wages in North West
THE cost of childcare for young children has risen 4.3
times faster than wages in the North West since 2008, according to new analysis
published by the TUC. The analysis reveals that in the North West the average
wages of those with a 1 year old child rose by 11% in cash terms; although pay
is still falling in real terms; between 2008 and 2016. However, over the same
period, childcare costs shot up by 47%.
London; where childcare has risen 7.4 times more quickly than pay; has seen
the biggest increase in childcare costs compared to wages, followed by the East
Midlands (7 times), and the West Midlands (4.8 times). The average increase
across England is 4 times.
While there is Government support for childcare for children aged 2 and older,
most working parents with 1 year olds do not get any state help with childcare
And as around 950,000 working parents across the UK have a child aged 1, these
rising costs have huge implications for family budgets, warns the TUC, as
parents are spending an increasing portion of their pay on childcare.
In the North West:-
► A single parent working full time, with a 1 year old in
Nursery for 21 hours a
week (21 hours is the median amount of childcare used per week for Pre-School
age children) spent 23% of their wages on childcare in 2016, up from 15% in
► 1 parent working full time and 1 parent working part time, with a
1 year old in Nursery for 21 hours a week, spent 15% of their salary on childcare
in 2016, up from 10% in 2008.
► 1 parents working full time with a
1 year old, in Nursery for 21
hours a week, spent 12% of their wages, on childcare in 2016, up from 7% in 2008.
The analysis also shows pressure is even greater on parents
working full time, especially single parents. A single mum or dad in the North
West with a young child in Nursery for 40 hours a week would need to spend 45%
of their pay on childcare; showing how difficult it is to balance work and
family life without working fewer hours or getting support from friends and
TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said:- "The cost of childcare is
spiralling, but wages aren't keeping pace. Parents are spending more and more of
their salaries on childcare, and the picture is even worse for single parents.
Nearly a million working parents with 1 year old kids have eye watering
childcare bills. There is a real gap in childcare support for 1 year olds
until Government assistance kicks in at age 2. Parents need subsidised,
affordable childcare from as soon as maternity leave finishes to enable them to
continue working, and so mums don't continue to have to make that choice between
having a family and a career."
To address this increasing pressure on working families, the TUC would like to
► Universal free childcare from the end of maternity leave. This would help single
parents and families; especially younger mums and dads with less seniority and
lower pay; to stay in work and progress their Careers after having children.
► More Government funding for local authorities to provide
Nurseries and child care.
► A greater role for employers in funding childcare. Either through
direct subsidy to employees or the provision of on site childcare facilities.
New developments for Walrus smartcard
FROM 30 October 2017, people who use the bus frequently,
but not often enough to make it worth buying a season ticket, will be able to
buy 'bundles' of 1 day Adult (19 years and over) Solo tickets,
which can be used to make unlimited journeys on any bus across Merseyside, at
any time of day.
Following the successful launch earlier this year of the One Day Adult Solo
ticket, the ability to buy tickets in advance for 1, 3 or 5 days will now make
ticket buying more convenient. The tickets will be accepted by all bus operators
across Merseyside and each valid day ticket can be used for a whole days travel,
so long as it is within a 12 month period of when the last ticket was sold. They
can be loaded onto a Walrus card from PayPoint stores and Merseytravel Centres.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
Transport Committee which oversees the work of Merseytravel said:- "We are
continually looking to develop our smart ticketing offer, working with operators
most notably through the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance, to ensure that
tickets best suit the journeys people want to make, offering choice, value and
simplicity. As well as Merseytravel tickets, some operator tickets can now be
bought on Walrus too, making Walrus the chosen smart ticketing scheme for the
Liverpool City Region. We've made significant progress since 2014, with 2.5m
smart tickets sold, but we've still got more to do. We are working to introduce
the ability to purchase tickets online as well as ensuring we're plugged in to
wider smart ticketing developments being taken forward through Transport for the
Since 2015, just over 500,000 Walrus smartcards have been issued free of charge
to customers by Merseytravel. However, it was always intended that once the
scheme was established an activation fee would be implemented for any new cards
to cover production and distribution charges. The ₤1 fee will be introduced, on
30 October 2017, so passengers are encouraged to keep hold of their existing
Walrus cards and reuse them each time they buy smart travel tickets.
For further details about the range of ticketing options visit:-
Sight risk warning over Halloween contact
PEOPLE are being warned not to play "Russian
roulette" with their vision by "changing it" with
Halloween themed contact lenses.
The alert comes in response to a growing trend
of people buying these novelty items from market stalls or over the internet,
potentially putting their eye health at risk.
The British Contact Lens
Association (BCLA) has advised that people should speak to their registered
practitioner if they want to add 'spooky' contact lenses to your fancy dress
BCLA President Keith Tempany said:- "Wearing fancy lenses might make you
look cool for 1 night on Halloween, but losing your sight could be a lifelong
horror story. Cosmetic colored lenses are a medical device and should be
prescribed by an eye care professional. These lenses should only be purchased
from and fitted by, a registered practitioner. By sharing colored contact lenses
young people are playing Russian roulette and changing it with their eye health
and putting their sight at risk."
The lenses, which alter eye colour and have been made popular by smash hit TV
series and films, like Twilight, are often shared around amongst friends, and
this increases the risk of corneal ulcers and infections.
The campaign is
warning against buying lenses from fashion outlets, market stalls, and
unregistered online sellers and will stress the importance of visiting an eye
care professional to ensure lenses fit properly and receive expert advice on how
to wear and store them safely.
For more details about the British Contact
Lens Association, visit:-