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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 16 July 2007

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North West vote Sir Alan Sugar as top business leader

PEOPLE throughout the North West have voted The Apprentice star, Sir Alan Sugar as their most inspirational business person. 

35% of the people questioned ranked self-made multi-millionaire Sugar top of their list due to qualities including his "no-bull", harsh but fair approach to business.  X-Factor judge and music mogul Simon Cowell came a close 2nd in the poll with 28% of the votes, while records, planes and trains entrepreneur Richard Branson gained 17% of the votes putting him in 3rd place.

The survey was carried out by automotive services chain Mr Clutch Autocentres as part of its new franchisee recruitment programme. Founder and chief executive of Mr Clutch Joseph Yussuf started the business 28 years ago with no qualifications and just £250.  Yussuf comments:- "It's interesting and surprising to find out which business men and women people look up to. It is a good way of identifying what people think makes somebody successful and what business and management skills they hold in high regard."

Surprisingly, glamour model and reality TV star Jordan ranked 6th in the Top 10 inspirational business people. Jordan, real name Katie Price, has amassed a fortune of over £30 million through modelling, books and jewellery ranges. Despite his recent "Tycoon" TV flop, Peter Jones still came out as number 4 on the list.

Yussuf concludes:- "Entrepreneurs like Sir Alan Sugar and some of the others on the list prove that no matter what background you come from anything is achievable if you have the drive and the determination to succeed."

The List of Top 10 Inspirational Business People includes:-

1. Sir Alan Sugar
2. Simon Cowell
3. Richard Branson
4. Peter Jones
5. Sir Philip Green
6. Jordan (aka Katie Price)
7. Steve Jobs
8. Anita Roddick
9. Bill Gates
10. Duncan Bannatyne


AS the unsettled weather continues, residents across some of the worst hit areas in England are being reminded that grants that could bring them in from the cold are going unclaimed.  As many as 155,500 homes across Merseyside could be eligible from a Warm Front Grant from the government to install energy efficiency measures such as heating and insulation. Despite this, only 15,837 took up the offer last year and thousands more could be missing out on help, which could make their home warmer and bills lower.

The UK’s largest residential energy efficiency provider eaga plc, who manage the £1.5 billion scheme on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, are appealing for people to come forward to see whether they are entitled to make a claim.  To date, more than 1.4 million households have now received Warm Front assistance since the scheme started in 2000.

Spokesperson, Adrian Hull, said:- “We’re concerned that thousands of people could be missing out on the opportunity to claim money which could improve the energy efficiency of their home.  The earlier you apply, the sooner we can get you ready for winter. Typically a package of Warm Front improvements can save you as much as £193 on annual fuel bills, so it’s well worth picking up the phone to see whether you are entitled to make a claim.”

Warm Front Grants of up to £2700 are available to help improve the living conditions of vulnerable people living in cold, damp and energy inefficient houses.  Grants can be used to repair broken heating systems, pay for a highly efficient condensing boiler and install gas, electric and oil heating.  Energy saving measures such as loft insulation, draught proofing and cavity wall insulation are also available as well as low energy light bulbs, tank lagging and a free home energy check.

People over 60, those with a child under 16, disabled people, people suffering from a long-term illness and pregnant mothers who have a maternity certificate MAT B1 are likely to be among those eligible for the scheme if they receive certain benefits.  To qualify for a Grant, residents must own their own home, or rent it from a private landlord.

For more information, call the Warm Front helpline free on 0800 316 6007 (quoting reference MK858). Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays.

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