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Campaigners call for MPs to return £42 million made on property sales

first_imgHome » News » Campaigners call for MPs to return £42 million made on property sales previous nextRegulation & LawCampaigners call for MPs to return £42 million made on property salesScandal claimed as report by national newspaper reveals extraordinary profits made by 160 MPs on sales of tax-payer funded homes.Nigel Lewis10th April 201901,882 Views MPs are in hot water again over the profits they make selling tax-payer subsidised homes.The Daily Mirror has today published a list of 160 MPs who have sold homes for a total profit of £42 million, generated partly via Parliament’s discredited expenses system which allows them to claim interest payments on their second home mortgages.The average profit made per sale was £255,000 although 20 of the MPs made more than £500,000 in gross profit.Several high-profile MPs are named in the report including one potential future Conservative leader – Environment Secretary Michael Gove who made a £870, 000 gross profit selling two homes.Others include Sir Graham Brady, Chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, and former Culture Secretary Maria Miller.LossesNot all politicians in the report have raked it in – three Labour MPs made a loss on their property sales including former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.Parliamentary expenses reformers have called on the rules to be changed and for MPs to return any profits they derive from selling taxpayer-funded properties, as former Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg did in 2011 when he sold his second home for £40,000 more than he bought it for.“It’s an open and shut case, of course they should pay it back,” says former MP and journalist Martin Bell (pictured).“There is the spirit of the law, why are they making a personal profit from allowances which they receive from the taxpayer? In this case they very clearly are.“Most people would agree. It is public money that has been spent and it gives quite the wrong impression if MPs make a profit in that way.”Read the report in full. Michael Gove MP’s expenses scandal April 10, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more


Make a Difference Day is a blessing

first_imgTo the Editor:Make a Difference Day continues to be a blessing to the Bayonne Community! Bayonne Board of Education, Bayonne Police Department, Department of Public Works and BCB Bank have provided over 30 cases of canned goods to the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation’s food pantry for 2018!We are deeply moved by the response. I want you all to know that your efforts make a major difference for a number of families (many of who have now expressed their thanks to the BEOF) who find meeting the basics of living a strain in normal times, and especially stressful during the holiday and winter months.You brought peace of mind to many homes where it was much needed and appreciated.Once again, thank you!BAYONNE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOUNDATION STAFFlast_img read more


Big Brother to Return to the West End! 1984 Sets London Dates

first_img View Comments 1984 will return to London’s Playhouse Theatre this summer. Based on George Orwell’s classic 1949 novel and adapted and co-directed by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, the production will begin previews on June 12 and play a limited engagement through September 5. Opening night is set for June 18. Casting will be announced later.April, 1984. 13:00. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary, and falls in love. But Big Brother is always watching.1984 has design by Chloe Lamford, lighting design by Natasha Chivers, sound design by Tom Gibbons and video designed by Tim Reid.The production, which premiered at Nottingham Playhouse in September 2013, subsequently had an acclaimed run at the Almeida Theatre, before transferring to London’s Playhouse Theatre last year.last_img read more


Keep out kudzu bugs

first_imgTemperatures are finally dropping in Georgia and people are staying inside to keep warm, and so are the famous kudzu bugs. University of Georgia experts offer tips on how to keep the tiny pests from invading your home.Megacopta cribraria, also known as the kudzu bug, is preparing for winter by moving from its preferred host, kudzu, to protected sites where it will spend the winter, said Wayne Gardner, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. They head to whiteThe adult bugs are attracted to light-colored surfaces, and the current mass migration into houses and other structures has resulted in numerous calls to area pest control offices and UGA Cooperative Extension offices for advice.“The cool temperatures we have been experiencing coupled with the senescing of kudzu are likely causes of the mass migration,” Gardner said. “The same phenomenon was seen in the late fall of 2009 and 2010 when the bugs moved from kudzu in search of sites in which they will spend the winter in a mostly inactive state.”The adult kudzu bugs will emerge in the spring, lay eggs on sprouting kudzu and begin building large populations. In addition to dining on kudzu, the pest also feeds on soybeans and other legumes, including beans in home gardens.Gardner, and other CAES researchers, are searching for ways to control the insect in both urban and farm environments. “We are hopeful that the large numbers of these insects we currently see reflect a ‘colonization effect’ of these recent invaders from Asia. If so, we will likely see kudzu bugs reach an ecological equilibrium in which their numbers are not as high as we see now,” he said.Tips to help keep them outUntil a control is found, UGA experts offer the following tips to homeowners who want to keep the pest at bay:• Seal, with caulk or screen, all cracks around windows and doors. Make sure there are no gaps under doors and around soffits. Install doorsweeps on all outside doors if necessary.• Do not kill kudzu bugs indoors. Use a vacuum to remove them. This will prevent the noxious odor/exudate they expel from penetrating and, perhaps, staining indoor surfaces.• At this time of year, kudzu bugs are most active in the afternoon as temperatures warm up later in the day. Plan outdoor activities in the morning, if possible, or move activities indoors.• Kudzu bugs can be killed with pyrethroid insecticides applied directly to the insects, e.g., while resting on outside walls. When using an insecticide, read and follow the product’s label (it’s the law). Never use a pyrethroid insecticide in an area where it might contaminate water. These insecticides are very toxic to fish and other aquatic life. Alternatively, homeowners can contact a local pest management company and have them inspect and evaluate the situation.• To date, no traps have been commercialized or shown to be effective in attracting and killing large numbers of kudzu bugs. And, scientifically valid chemical attractants have not yet been identified.• Removing kudzu from your property may help reduce the nuisance of these pests, but they are known to fly long distances and may emerge from other kudzu growing in the vicinity.“We have seen peaks of flight activity in the past two to three weeks,” Gardner said. “But, based on our experience in 2009 and 2010, the flights will subside and cease in the next few weeks as colder temperatures prevail and the insects become inactive for the winter.”The bugs will emerge from their winter slumber in the spring of 2012. “We’ll see them feeding on and reproducing in kudzu in early spring,” he said. “And the whole cycle will begin again.”last_img read more


International Outreach

first_imgMFK is a U.S.-based, non-governmental organization working in Haiti to produce ready-to-use therapeutic food, with peanuts as a primary ingredient. MFK also provides training and markets for farmers while conducting agricultural research to improve crop yields and reduce aflatoxin. “The thrust of this award is that it asks MFK to provide the information made available to Haitian farmers [and] to smallholder farmers around the world concerning aflatoxin abatement methods,“ said MFK founder Patricia Wolff. “The former Peanut [Collaborative Research Support Program], and now PMIL, have been working in Haiti with MFK for more than five years. In that time, a lot has been accomplished—aflatoxin levels have fallen, and peanut yields and farmer incomes have increased.” The 20 awardees are working with a team of marketing and publishing experts to hone the message of their materials for farmers and policy makers. The completed materials will be published and distributed in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, in both print and electronic form, by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation. The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU) that works to advance food and nutritional security. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s University of Georgia-housed Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL) is helping to create Extension materials that will be used internationally to curb mycotoxin exposure among smallholder farmers.Jamie Rhoads, assistant director of the USAID-funded PMIL, which is housed in UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, helped to create a poster, brochure and guidebook that will help smallholder farmers worldwide decrease aflatoxin contamination in peanuts. This outreach campaign was selected as one of the 20 proposals awarded from 250 international applications in response to the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation’s call for proposals “to unearth and award top innovations that are transforming smallholder farms in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.” The mycotoxin outreach materials were recognized this month at the centre’s International Forum on Unleashing Science, Technology and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security in Arnhem, Netherlands. “We developed a suite of technologies that made it possible to evaluate and control aflatoxin at the smallholder farmers level, including in-field testing, better production practices and better post-harvest handling,” Rhoads said. “I hope that the publication will reach many audiences and that it will spread the knowledge that aflatoxin contamination can be controlled on a smallholder level,” he added. Aflatoxin is a dangerous toxin produced by the molds in the genus Aspergillus. It affects peanuts and other crops that are harvested and stored in hot, humid conditions.Current methods of controlling aflatoxin involve infrastructure and inputs that are often too costly for smallholder farmers. Globally, an estimated 2.5 billion people are involved in smallholder agriculture. Bryan Sobel, former agricultural program coordinator at Meds & Food for Kids (MFK), drafted and submitted the original project proposal. Rhoads worked with Sobel during his time as an employee and then consultant at Meds & Food for Kids.last_img read more


Kids Just Want to Have Fun: Adventure Weekends in Dickenson County, VA

first_imgSide x Side, ATV/UTV or Dirt Bikes to ride the trails. Or bring your mountain bikes for plenty of exciting riding on any of the 5 Spearhead Trails. Visit for maps, permits, and regulations for the ATV Trails.Near Clintwood, VA families can tackle an uphill hike to the top of Birch Knob Observation Tower for a breath-taking view of three neighboring states. Ranges of mountains covered in green forest provide a great backdrop for selfies. Bluegrass, gospel and country music lovers love to visit the Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood to experience the sounds, voices, life and music of the legendary Dr. Ralph Stanley. Life music performances are scheduled at the Ralph Stanley Museum or the Jettie Baker Center in Clintwood, VA. Breaks Interstate Park – What kid could pass up a water park on top of a mountain that has four water slides, a spray ground, current channel, in-pool basketball and volleyball areas and giant swimming pool! More wet fun includes pedal boats, canoes, and fishing on the lake.For those older kids and adventure hounds, you can book a thrilling Zip Line Experience or in October a white-water rafting ride that travels through the gorge. For land lovers, the park provides hiking, biking, geocaching, horseback riding, and birding. Your family has a choice of camping, cottages, rooms at the lodge or a luxury cabin all surrounded by trails leading to overlook views, deep mountain forests, a sparkling lake and a recently updated water park at the pool.The luxury cabins have fully equipped kitchens, or if the cook is on vacation, your family can enjoy all their meals in The Rhododendron Restaurant which offers a broad menu selection along with breathtaking views of the gorge from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The Visitor Center and Museum provide information, guided tours, educational exhibits, and grist mill demonstrations. Breaks claim to the fame as the “Grand Canyon of the South” is well deserved because the overlooks and scenic views of the 5-mile gorge 1650 feet below are truly spectacular. Perched on the mountain tops and ridges between Virginia and Kentucky, this 4,600-acre park provides plenty of kid fun out of doors.Just north of Breaks is the quaint village of Haysi, VA. You will find the new Ridge View Off Road Trail at the Kiwanis Park Trailhead. The ATV Trail takes riders from Haysi to Breaks Interstate and connects with Coal Canyon ATV Trail near Grundy. Over 100 miles of mountain adventures and watch for members of the wild Elk Herd that is part of a restoration program in the area. Bring yourlast_img read more


Are credit unions doing enough to help young entrepreneurs?

first_imgFor years credit unions have pursued the goal of “getting younger”—and for good reason. With the average credit union member’s age hovering in the late 40s, Gen Y (18–35-year-olds) represents a prime opportunity for credit unions to continue the legacy of cooperative finance among newer generations. However, focused initiatives are seldom consistently deployed to execute these aspirations. It’s easy to stake a claim, but what are you doing to further that?As student debt skyrockets to record levels and young adults struggle with un- and underemployment, entrepreneurship is becoming a viable option for many. Starting a business is gratifying and self-fulfilling, but it’s also filled with capital challenges and strategic roadblocks. By supporting young adults in their endeavors to become small (or large) business owners where others may not, credit unions can foster loyalty among these members.Lending to young entrepreneurs isn’t always feasible or realistic; 18–35-year-olds often lack the necessary credit history to obtain capital, and their ventures may not include tangible assets or collateral. As a result, many credit unions are unwilling and unable to take on the risk of providing financial support. With that in mind, Filene has identified several initiatives credit unions can implement to support young entrepreneurs when lending isn’t a viable option. continue reading » 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more


Leveraging technology to streamline your workflow

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In this digitally competitive day and age, where everyone wants and expects an answer “yesterday,” being efficient is imperative. The mortgage market in particular has grown more and more crowded as home prices soar and interest rates continue to decline. In fact, Interest rates have been dropping since late 2018, recently dipping below 4% in June for a 30-year mortgage, the lowest in about two years. Leveraging your credit union’s technology to streamline the loan decision-making process can reduce the turn-around time for the member’s application, provide members answers quickly, and potentially be the difference in whether a new loan closes with your credit union or at another financial institution.With home prices on the rise, more and more people are looking to buy and sell homes, or capitalize on their new found equity. Zillow reports the current median home price in the U.S. is $229,000, up 5.2% over the last year, and expected to rise another 2.2% within the coming year. With all of the potential opportunity for new mortgage loans (and corresponding membership,) it’s important to be positioned to secure these new loans when it makes sense. Investing in a smart LOS (loan originating system) can save time by efficiently collecting information, storing it, and sharing it between departments. The right technology can offer (potential) members an easy and efficient platform where they can seamlessly apply for a loan, or perform other financial transactions, and may be what helps to land a new loan. continue reading »last_img read more


Malaria vaccine trial raises hope

first_img Share Share Tweet Share Sharing is caring!center_img HealthLifestyle Malaria vaccine trial raises hope by: – September 21, 2011 7 Views   no discussions Trials are beginning on two potential malaria vaccinesResearchers are to expand a clinical trial of a new malaria vaccine after promising results in a preliminary study in Burkina Faso. The trial was designed to test safety, but researchers found that vaccinated children had high levels of protection.Described as a “most encouraging” result, a larger study involving 800 children is now to take place in Mali. The scientists involved say they are hopeful that the vaccine will ultimately be very cheap to produce.Around a hundred different malaria vaccine candidates have been developed to date but the MSP3 vaccine tested in Burkina Faso is only the second one to show a substantial level of protection against the illness. The randomised, double blind study involved 45 children. It set out to test the safety of the vaccine but this follow up study found that children who received it had an incidence of the disease three to four times lower than children who did not. Initially the children were split into three groups, with two of them receiving the experimental malaria vaccine developed by Dr Pierre Druilhe at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.“Those two groups had very similar types of immune response, elicited by the vaccine, and the protection is almost identical, so it reinforces the confidence despite the fact that we are still dealing with a small group,” he said.The vaccine is based on the fact that some adults in Africa acquire immunity because they are constantly exposed to the disease. Early daysDr Druilhe and his team discovered a key protein, MSP3, which provokes the body into producing antibodies that kill the parasite. He said the protein is unique as it does not change much between different strains of the plasmodium parasite that causes malaria. This is believed to be a critical factor in developing an efficient vaccine. He added: “We performed a large number of epidemiological studies that confirm that there was an association between that vaccine candidate and acquired protection, so when you immunise with this molecule you indeed induce protection.”Another scientist involved with the Burkina Faso study was Dr Louis Miller, the former head of the Malaria Vaccine Branch of the US National Institutes of Health. He said: “I was always in favour of this approach as it offered a chance in a field with few successes. I found the results of this preliminary study in Burkina Faso to be most encouraging.”High transmissionEncouraged by the early results, Dr Druilhe said the trial has now been expanded to 800 children in Mali. But he remains cautious.“There have been too many claims of effective vaccines so we have to remain very cautious. It has to be confirmed and we have started on work to do that confirmation. Essentially the trial in Mail is about 20 times larger, in extremely high transmission conditions, so it should yield very clear cut results – this will be black and white.”The other vaccine candidate that has shown success against malaria is called RTS, S. It has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is set to go into production with pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline.But there are concerns that it could be expensive, especially for people in Africa and other regions affected by the disease. Dr Druilhe says his vaccine could be a lot cheaper – perhaps half a dollar or less a bottle.The results of the Burkina Faso trial were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.BBC Newslast_img read more


Iva E. Lunsford

first_imgIva Eleanor Lunsford, 84 of Dillsboro and formerly of  Florence, Kentucky passed away Wednesday October 18 at the Dillsboro Manor.  Iva was born March 4, 1933 in Covington, Kentucky the daughter of Ralph and Corrine (Callen) Rhodes.  She was married to Willie Orville Lunsford who preceded her in death.  She was a homemaker and a member of the Baptist faith.Survivors include daughters Kathie (Bailey) Johnson and Mary Varney both of Florence, Kentucky, brother Joe Lunsford of Oklahoma, 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.Funeral services will be held at the convenience of the family.  Filter-DeVries-Moore Funeral Home, Dillsboro handling arrangements.last_img read more