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News Report Page 10 of 24
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News reports located on this page = 4.

Businesses urged to claim ₤2500 voucher for broadband boost

BUSINESSES around the UK are being urged to make use of a ₤2500 voucher for gigabit broadband speeds before the scheme closes due to high demand. The Government's Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has already helped more than 7000 UK businesses and surrounding homes, who have used the vouchers to contribute to, and in many cases fully fund, the installation cost of a full fibre gigabit capable connection. The ₤67 million scheme was initially expected to run until March 2021, but high demand for vouchers means that funds are now expected to be committed a year earlier, and perhaps even sooner if the current success of the scheme continues to grow. To date, demand for the scheme has been strongest in the South West, followed by the South East, Yorkshire and the North West. Minister for Digital Margot James said:- "Our modern Industrial Strategy is clear on the importance of connectivity, as we build a full fibre Britain that is fit for the future. These vouchers provide practical and immediate help to firms struggling with slow broadband speeds. I encourage small businesses around the UK to apply now. "

To ensure as many businesses and homes benefit, the maximum value of the voucher will be reduced from the current ₤3000 to ₤2500 in a move that will encourage neighbouring businesses to "pool" their vouchers. This will enable the scheme to reach more properties without the need for any additional funding. We expect more than 1000 additional businesses and homes to benefit as a result of this change. DCMS will be carefully monitoring take up following this change to the scheme rules to determine whether there are locations in which a higher voucher value would be justified. The scheme is part of a series of Government initiatives to build a Britain with nationwide full fibre broadband coverage by 2033, making sure no communities are left behind. In addition to the voucher scheme, the Chancellor recently announced ₤200 million for an 'outside in' approach that will see full fibre broadband rolled out in the hardest to reach rural locations at the same pace as the rest of the Country. The Borderlands, Cornwall, and Welsh valleys will be amongst the 1st areas to be targeted. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said:- "Access to good broadband is vital for small businesses across the UK, and with the clock ticking on this scheme, it's important small businesses don't delay if they want to apply for funding."

More information on the Gigabit Voucher Scheme, including details on how businesses can apply can be found online.

Tis' the season to be tidy

CHRISTMAS is on its way and so are changes to the bin collection service. Residents are reminded that there will be amendments to bin collections over Christmas, beginning Monday, 3 December 2018, until Monday, 14 January 2019, when normal collections will resume.

Since Monday, 22 October Liverpool Councils Refuse Collectors started putting stickers onto wheelie bins that are presented for regular collection, to notify households when their bins will be due for collection over the festive period.

Cabinet member for Street Scene, Transport and Highways, Air Quality, Cllr James Noakes said:- "The increased household waste and recycling, produced during the Christmas period means our services are often stretched. To meet increased demand during this time we alter the regularly scheduled collections in order to effectively remove all residents waste. I would like to encourage all residents to take note of the stickers that will be placed on their bins in the coming weeks and visit our website for more information."

We have recycling centres and there will be Christmas tree recycling collection points, information about these can be found here.

Liverpool City Council is reminding residents not to leave their green bins out for collection between Saturday, 1 December 2018 and Sunday, 24 February 2019. The green waste collection will be suspended for the winter due to the annual drop in demand.

People in the North West drugging themselves to sleep

TIRED people in the North West say they are medicating themselves to sleep; and over a quarter say they have had to see their doctor about the problem. 41% of people in the Region say they have used medication or alcohol to get to sleep. 7% of those surveyed said they had taken antidepressants, according to a survey for Gravity Blankets by Atomik Research. A further 7% say they have taken narcotics such as codeine, morphine or other opiate painkillers to get to sleep while 14% have taken sleeping tablets. 71% of all adults in the North West say their worries keep them up at night, tossing and turning over their health, family and money. 29% of those surveyed said they had been to the doctor about their sleep problems.  The research showed that anxiety and depression play a major part in people's inability to get some shut eye. 48% of those surveyed in the North West said they suffered from anxiety and 36% said they had suffered from depression. And 38% described themselves as:- 'TATT' or 'Tired All The Time.' 36% of those surveyed in the North West say they struggle to get to sleep at least 3 nights a week, with some of the biggest factors being unable to switch off, restlessness and thinking over to do lists. Tired people in the North West drink an average of 3 cups of tea or coffee when they are tired, although 11% say they have 7 cups or more. Those surveyed also tuck into more calories when they are feeling tired, with 23% saying they eat extra cakes or sweets, 24% saying they eat extra biscuits and 13% saying they neck more fizzy drinks. Therapist and Gravity Blankets co-founder Joanna Goliszek said:- "Britain's inability to get a good night's sleep is a huge cause for concern. Sleep is essential for healing the body and the mind but the demands of modern life mean that we are on the go from dawn till dusk. Many of us feel compelled to check work emails before bed or we find ourselves worrying about our families, our health or our money problems in the small hours. All of this weighs heavily on our minds and, as our survey shows, this accumulated anxiety or depression affects our ability to get to sleep. It is particularly worrying that young people are turning to medication to get off to sleep and, while it is understandable, we would encourage anyone who is having trouble sleeping search out more natural alternatives."

Praise is heaped on to local MP by UK's largest construction body

THE Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson, has recently met the Specialist Engineering Contractors' (SEC) Group in his capacity as member of the Labour Party's Shadow Business Team. SEC Group represents the largest sector (by value) in the UK construction industry. The specialist engineering sector comprises 60,000 firms with the overwhelming majority being small firms.

Following the meeting, the MP received fulsome praise from Professor Rudi Klein, SEC Group’s CEO:- "Bill has had a long standing interest in the well-being of thousands of small firms in the construction industry. He has challenged Government to address the extent of payment abuse in the industry which was highlighted in the Carillion debacle."

Bill Esterson is working with SEC Group and other construction industry bodies to improve payment security for SME's by ensuring that construction projects have in place project bank accounts (PBAs). They require all businesses in the supply chain to be paid from 1 "pot" rather than payments having to pass down through different layers of contracting. Carillion, for example, was notorious for holding on to its supply chain monies, as long as possible.

The MP has also been applying pressure on Government to support a Private Member's Bill to protect cash retentions. This is the process where monies are withheld in case a firm fails to return to rectify non-compliant work. In the overwhelming majority of cases these monies are used to enhance the cash flow of the other party; about ₤ ¾ billion of SMEs' retention monies are thought to have been lost in the Carillion collapse.

Bill Esterson said that, in spite of many reports and initiatives, small businesses in construction are still being taken advantage by the large companies. He added:- "I would like to see statutory measures in place that mandate 30 day payments for all SMEs."

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