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Issue:- Monday, 28 March 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 6 news items.    Page - 3.

RMT rally to defend services, safety and jobs on eve of Northern Rail hand over to Deustche Bahn

TRANSPORT Union RMT will be holding a rally to:- "Defend Rail Services, Safety and Jobs" at the Mechanics Institute, 103, Princess Street, Manchester, on Thursday, 31 March 2016, the eve of the Northern franchise handover to German State operator Deutsche Bahn. The rally, supported by RMT's sister rail unions ASLEF and TSSA, kicks off at 6pm.

The Speakers at the RALLY will be:- Andy McDonald MP Labour MP for Middlesbrough and Shadow Rail Minister Lisa Nandy; Labour MP for Wigan Mick Whelan; General Secretary of ASLE&F Mick Cash; General Secretary of RMT Steve Coe; TSSA Lynn Collins; TUC

The rally will be followed up on Friday, 1 April 2016; the 1st day of the Arriva (DB) Franchise; with the widespread distribution of special leaflets; highlighting the rail privatisation franchise fiasco and the nonsense of German state operator DB taking over Northern Rail services with the threat of Driver Only Operation, and the sacking of the guards, to rail safety, jobs and front line passenger services.

Rail unions will be handing the leaflets to passengers on Friday, 1 April 2016 outside:-

Manchester Piccadilly Station - between:- 07.30 and 09.00

Leeds City Station - (Wellington Street/Aire Street entrance) - between:- 11.45 and 13.30

Newcastle Centeral Station - between:- 16.30 and 18.00

A ceremonial German State flag will be raised outside the stations during the protests symbolising the nonsense of the Government opposing British state ownership of our railways while allowing the German state to bleed our franchises dry.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:- "This rotten Tory government, opposed to British public ownership of our railways, have now awarded the Northern franchise to the German state railway company giving them the opportunity to bleed away millions in profits to subsidise their domestic operations. Since 2007 Northern Rail has sucked passengers dry to pay £179 million in dividends to the previous franchise owners Serco and the Dutch State Railway."

He the added that:- "a German Transport Ministry spokesperson admitted to such a strategy in reference to its state owned company Deutsche Bahn, which will now be running Northern Rail services" The spokesperson is alleged to have commented:- "We're skimming profit from the entire Deutsche Bahn and ensuring that it is anchored in our budget; that way we can make sure it is invested in the rail network here in Germany."

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash then said:-
"If true this is nothing short of a national scandal and according to Rail North's own estimates passenger demand for the North's railway will soar by 50% over the next 15 years opening the door to even greater profiteering while at the same time threatening to axe safety critical guards from 50% of the Northern routes. To add insult to injury, at a time when train building in this Country is struggling to survive, the German State operator has announced their intention to order new trains for the franchise from a manufacturer in Spain. Something needs to be done we need a nationalised People's Railway for the North."

Charity welcomes easier access to flood insurance for homeowners in Lancashire

THE National Flood Forum hopes the new Flood Re insurance scheme will alleviate the stress and frustration previously caused by the difficulties people in high flood risk areas in getting affordable insurance in Lancashire.

As the only charity that focuses solely on flooding, the National Flood Forum has been working with government and the insurance industry for many years to get a better deal for homeowners. The state backed initiative is set to launch on 4 April 2016 and aims to help flood risk households obtain affordable insurance.

Paul Cobbing, Chief Executive of the National Flood Forum said:-
"Thousands of homeowners and residents currently struggle to get buildings and contents insurance which creates anxiety, stress and frustration. It is hoped that Flood Re will be the game changer that enables more people to take out affordable insurance to protect their homes and provide peace of mind."

It is expected that the vast majority of insurance providers will sign up to the scheme which should create a more competitive market for consumers to shop around in.

Paul continued:- "Until now, many people in flood risk areas either couldn't obtain or afford insurance and insurers haven't been able to offer affordable policies in flood risk areas, as the number of flooding incidents and size of claims increased. Through Flood Re, insurers will now be able to change all that. Flood Re is time limited to 25 years after which flood insurance will return to the free market. Therefore, it is critically important that we use this opportunity to radically reduce flood risk to communities across the country. Our level of ambition needs to increase significantly, with roles for all parts of society including Government and the insurance industry. It is a critical time for government and all stakeholders with an interest in flood risk management to work together to devise and deliver a much more robust, collaborative and ambitious plan for managing flood risk. Whatever the approach it must serve to lessen the impact and reduce the huge cost of flooding to individuals and the public purse."

Flood Re works behind the scenes; people will continue to deal with their insurance companies in exactly the same way as before. They will not need to contact Flood Re. To ensure sufficient funds are available, all domestic property insurers operating in the UK will pay a statutory levy. This will be a total of £180m across all insurers. In addition, all household insurance policies will pay a small fee that will be passed to Flood Re. Policy holders can expect to see the flooding part of their excess capped at £250 and a more competitive market will drive down policy premiums too.

Paul said:- "We will be keeping a close eye to see how effectively the scheme performs but we are really hopeful that it will make a big difference to people's ability to shop around for the best deal for them. However, in order for the scheme to work most effectively, it is important that people shop around. We are aware however, that there is still work to be done in other areas of insurance, particularly around small businesses who are not covered by Flood Re but who still struggle to find affordable cover. Whilst we fully recognise this doesn't fall under Flood Re's remit, we will continue to push for changes to be made so that all those affected by flooding have a fair chance of getting insurance."

For more information about Flood Re please visit:-
NationalFloodForum.Org.UK or FloodRe.Co.UK.

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Deceased estates notice - Lilian May Jackam

Pursuant to the Trustee Act 1925, any persons having a claim against or an interest in the Estate of Lilian May Jackam (also known as Lillian May) Jackam (Deceased), late of Birch Abbey Rest Home, 55 Alexandra Road, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 9HD, UK, who died on 04/10/2018, are required to send particulars thereof in writing, to the undersigned Solicitors, on or before 24/05/2019, after which date the Estate will be distributed having regard only to claims and interests of which they have had notice. Churches Solicitors, 12 High Street, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 7BL, UK. Ref:- 'T553015.'

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