Leeds Bradford Airport re-brands as Yorkshire Airport

    Leeds Bradford Airport as gone for a brand makeover.

    Following the appointment of a new Chief Executive, new ownership and a number of exciting changes to the terminal all now well underway, the airport has taken the decision to rebrand.

    With an ambition to create an airport that matches the needs and requirements of the region it serves and the surrounding area, Leeds Bradford: Yorkshire’s Airport will now be displayed throughout the terminal.

    Five-year-old Toby Nye, the little boy who has captured the hearts of Yorkshire following his battle with neuroblastoma, did the honours to officially switch on the new signage emblazoned on the front of the terminal roof.

    As part of the celebrations, the region’s largest airport also showcased the first part of its terminal redevelopments, including brand new purpose-built lounges. Featuring stunning floor to ceiling runway views, The Yorkshire Lounge, The White Rose Suite and 1432 Club will replace the current Yorkshire Premier Lounge.

    Designed to offer a leisure, business or first-class experience, passengers have a number of entry methods, including pre-book, airline access, loyalty card schemes and on the day access.

    The Yorkshire Lounge is the perfect place for families to relax and enjoy refreshments pre-flight, while The White Rose Suite offers the ideal environment for business passengers and couples looking for some pre-flight relaxation, in a lounge that serves barista-style coffee and a fully-serviced bar.

    The 1432 Club, named after the runway, is the most exclusive of the new lounges, featuring a specially selected menu, self-service premium bar and a prime view of the airfield.

    The unveiling of the new lounges follows the opening of a brand new Cabin Bar and Beer House while the Saltaire restaurant has been completely overhauled. Works on a brand new Starbucks coffee shop and additional retails outlets are set to commence in the coming weeks.

    Designed to provide a more straightforward journey for customers with a modern and vibrant feel, as well as developing our food and beverage offering, the airport has also invested in free non-commercial seating within the departure lounge. Work is also currently underway on the terminal front to improve passengers’ arrival at the airport, with a new Meet & Greet car-park facility.

    In March, the airport celebrated the opening of its first off-site car park. Viking Airport Parking, situated just off the airport roundabout located on Warren House Lane, ensures passengers have the smoothest possible start to their holiday. With members of staff on hand to park customers’ cars 24/7, shuttle buses transport passengers from the car park to the terminal in less than five minutes.

    Chief Executive David Laws said: “We want the people of our thriving region to get behind their airport and help us move forward.

    “We are delighted to offer our passengers even more choice in our departure lounge, as well as improved facilities for business travellers. We hope people will see this as the start of things to come for this airport. Our brand refresh embodies our vision to become Yorkshire’s airport of choice and to provide an airport our passengers can be proud of. As the development of LBA continues we hope to continually keep improving the customer experience and ensure our passengers feel welcome.

    “We are investing in staff training to ensure we offer a warm ‘Yorkshire welcome’ to all of our passengers, as well as continually improving our Special Assistance offering to help passengers with reduced mobility and hidden disabilities.

    “The more people use this airport the more successful we can be. Work continues to improve our route offering for both business and leisure services and we hope to have more exciting announcements in the near future.

    “It was great to welcome Toby and his family to switch on our new sign and experience our exclusive lounges. We also look forward to welcoming them back in the near future for a VIP tour. Our Fire Team are especially excited to welcome Toby to the Fire Station, as we hear from a reliable source (his Mum) he is a lover of ‘Transformers’ and our new fire vehicles are the same as those used in the films!”

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    Sugar Tax Set to Sweeten UK Economy

    By GRAHAME ANDERSON

    The sugar tax will come into effect in the UK on 6 April to target population obesity. It's hoped younger adults will fully benefit, though the often controversial, measure is aimed at people of all ages to help reduce the adverse health and cost burdens of diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

    The Tax Broken Down

    There will be two bands to the Sugar-sweetened beverages tax or SSBs - one for soft drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml, and a higher one for drinks with more than 8g per 100ml. The measure will not apply to all other high-sugar content drinks, like juices, or drinks made up of 75 per cent milk, though all are regarded as potentially dangerous to health.

    Sugary Truths

    Sugar has been found to carry low satiety, with the result of stimulating the appetite and assisting the promotion of weight gain. Intake of SSBs has been shown to result in dramatic increases in blood glucose and insulin concentrations. This contributes to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, independently of obesity. In fact, based on scientific evidence The World Health Organisation has recommended a reduction of free sugars consumption from less than 10 per cent, to less than five per cent of total daily energy intake.

    Dr Max Davie, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "The sugary drinks affected by this tax have no nutritional benefit, often containing levels of sugar well above a child's daily recommended limit. These drinks are a major contributor to the high sugar intakes of children, particularly teenagers, and we are in no doubt that they are, in part, contributing to this country's obesity crisis."

    Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, disagrees saying: "There is no evidence worldwide taxes of this sort reduce obesity, and it is ironic soft drinks are being singled out for tax, when we've led the way in reducing sugar intake, down over 17 per cent since 2012.”

    International Comparison

    Such a tax in Mexico, France and Hungary has been hugely successful with purchases of sugary drinks decreasing between six to 27 per cent after the tax was applied. In the case of France and Hungary however, apart from all types of sugar sweetened drinks, both biscuits and confectionery products are all subject to extra taxation. The Organics council claims we will only be pretending to emulate success abroad as the UK legislation stands. In terms of reaching the daily limit - one 250ml drink of apple juice or the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar will suffice. But of course, many people go well over this without even realising.

    Scientific Evidence

    Organics Council’s science committee member Dr Gonzalo Delgado says: “When it comes to public health policy decisions, it's essential these are based in solid scientific evidence. Sugar taxes can be useful to decrease sugar consumption, but they need to target all high sugar content and artificial sweetened foods, not only soft drinks as in the UK case. Consumers, and people in general, need to be well informed about current scientific knowledge, so they can make the correct choices in regard of their nutrition and health.”

    Malcolm Clark, a coordinator for the Children’s Food Campaign certainly agrees with the sentiments of the council stating: “The sugary drinks tax in its present form will not solve the UK’s childhood obesity crisis. We need other policy interventions including restrictions on marketing.”

    And for those looking to artificial sweeteners, experts say they are certainly not free of calories and also linked to glucose intolerance, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.

    The Outcome

    The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the levy could add 18p to 24p to the price of a litre of fizzy drink, if the full cost is passed on to the consumer.

    For further information around how The Organics Council work to protect the public through organic practice, research and campaigning, please visit the official website at www.organicscouncil.org

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    Former Bradford Lord Mayor Acquitted Of Misconduct In A Public Office

    By GRAHAME ANDERSON

    Britain's first female Muslim Lord Mayor was acquitted on Wednesday of Misconduct in a public office by The Court of Appeal in London.

    The Charge

    Last year Naveeda Ikram  pleaded not guilty to a charge of misconduct in a public office between 1 November 2014 and 31 August 2015. She was accused of seeking contracts for Nexus Assist and failing to declare an interest in that company, while an elected member of Bradford Council. She has always denied any wrongdoing.

    Originally, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), alleged she was said to have 'a financial interest' in the success of Nexus Assist Ltd, which helped young people leaving care in Bradford.

    As a Labour councillor for Little Horton since 2004, she resigned from the Council on November 15 last year, a day before she would have been automatically removed for failing to attend meetings for six months. This she said, was due to ill health. Ms Ikram was the first Muslim female Lord Mayor of Bradford in 2011-2012.

    Case Thrown Out

    Even before the half way point, the case against her was dismissed at Leeds Crown Court by Judge Geoffrey Marson QC at the end of last year. He said there was 'no case to answer', because of a lack of evidence. Prosecutors challenged this decision taking the case to the Court of Appeal.

    A popular figure in the British-Pakistani community Ms Ikram maintained she had never sought contracts for Nexus, had no financial interest in the company, and 'did not abuse the public's trust in her.'

    Court Of Appeal Verdict

    At The Court of Appeal Lord Justice Colman Treacy said: There was 'no sustainable evidence' Ikram had sought council contracts on behalf of Nexus, and that Judge Marson was justified in having described the evidence against Ms Ikram as 'wholly insufficient'.

    From 2016, despite the intense scrutiny she was placed under from these accusations, Mrs Ikram continued to represent her constituents with the same energy and determination she always had in the preceding 12 years of public service.

    Philip Goldberg of Minton Morrill Solicitors, acting on behalf of Ikram, said in a statement:

    “Having taken time to consider its decision, the Court of Appeal today rejected the prosecution’s argument that the judge had acted unreasonably in reaching the conclusions he did, accepting the arguments put forward by the defence. The effect of this is that the judge’s conclusion that the defendant should be acquitted on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to justify a conviction stands, and Mrs Ikram has been found not guilty.

    “Mrs Ikram has found this period of her life very distressing but would like to thank all of those people who have offered her support over the last two years, especially her husband, family and friends. Mrs Ikram would like to thank publicly her legal team who have represented her throughout the process especially her solicitor Philip Goldberg who headed the defence team at Minton Morrill and her barristers Paul Greaney Q.C. and Nicholas de la Poer.

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    Counter Terrorism Police probe vile 'Punish a Muslim day' letters

    Counter Terrorism Police North East are investigating reports of vile hate mail  which is being circulated in Bradford telling recipients to “punish a Muslim”.

    The alarming  A4 letters contain a list of violent acts alongside a number of points for performing them on Muslim members of the community on a specific day.

    The letters have caused outrage and condemnation from politicians, activists and members of the community.

    Tell Mama, UK a charity which monitors hate crime, told the BBC it had received reports of people in Bradford, Leicester, London, Cardiff and Sheffield getting the letters.

    Tell Mama Director Iman Atta said: "This has caused quite a lot of fear within the community.

    "They are asking if they are safe, if their children are safe to play outdoors.

    "We have told them to keep calm and to phone the police if they receive one of these letters."

    She said a number of the letters had been posted from Sheffield and bore a similarity to letters sent to mosques in the UK and US in May 2017, which were also posted from Sheffield.

    "They are inciting violence against the Muslim community," she said.

    Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain also condemned the letters and 'condemns hate crimes in all its forms which seek to divide our communities'

    He said in his statement: "I have spoken at length to senior police officers including Chief Superintendent Scot Bissett from West Yorkshire Police and with Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster from Counter-Terrorism Police in the North East, who have both assured me that the police are aware of these letters and that there is a serious and ongoing national investigation led by Counter-Terrorism Police and supported by local police.

    "I urge people to remain vigilant and if anyone receives or has received this letter, please contact the police and follow police guidelines to not pass the letter on to anyone else to prevent any contamination of evidence."

    A police spokesperson said: "Counter Terrorism Policing North East are co-ordinating the investigation at this time and will consider any potential links to existing inquiries.

    "Anyone with any concerns about a communication they may have received should contact their local police force."

     

     

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    PM Launches Extensive University Fees Review

    By GRAHAME ANDERSON

    Prime Minister Theresa May has admitted UK university fees were the world's most expensive on launching a review of the cost of courses. In the majority of cases Universities charge £9,250 per year, with most students graduating financially toward spiralling debt as a result. She did however, rule out scrapping tuition fees, also citing it wouldn't be fair on taxpayers who didn't go to university. “It would leave higher education in a losing struggle for funding with schools and hospitals, she said: “And it would mean limiting university places and funding.”

    The Opposition

    The Labour party are in favour of scrapping fees as things stand. Tuition fee architect the Labour peer Lord Adonis, called for a return to fees of £3,000 a year saying:  “Universities have become extremely bloated, due to the hike in fees, resulting in sky-high salaries for vice chancellors and management staff.”

    A Complicated System?

    Things are further complicated given the connection to the loan system underpinning the market, with companies pushing up interest charges. The highest current rate is standing at 6.1 per cent. In light of this the Government could well decide to drastically reduce the rate.

    Rather than creating a new system it seems more likely the current one will be changed, though the Government would like to encourage a variation in fees across the board. As an example, according to education experts, courses - such as arts and humanities - could be made cheaper than sciences, which are more expensive to deliver, and where graduate earnings are potentially much higher.

    This also means students will still be required to pay fees as a starting point, though ideas of a graduate tax are being pushed to one side. It's not all about full time students either, with ministers aware more support is needed for those wanting to work and study at the same time. Vocational and technical training could also receive more support.

    Yorkshire Insight

    Yorkshire has some excellent universities with three here given all round scores made up of entry standards, student satisfaction, graduate prospects and overall quality.

    Leeds currently stands 14th in the university league table with a score of 850. The university of Bradford meanwhile is in 58th position carrying a score of 675, with Huddersfield sitting in 72nd place on a total of 635.

    Looking ahead

    Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Unit, said: “The Prime Minister's review team had enormous expectations on their shoulders. There is a long shopping list of demands for reducing fees, and at the same time increasing levels of support. The Government has encouraged this speculation, but it will be hard to satisfy all the hopes, especially if the Treasury is not willing to allow additional public spending on post-compulsory education.

    It's reported the Government has been impressed by the Welsh system, whereby students receive greater maintenance support while studying.

    Blunt Reaction

    Sally Hunt, leader of the UCU lecturers’ union, stated: “The review must be more than tinkering at the edges. There needs to be a fundamental review of university funding.”

    The Russell Group of leading universities has warned any changes to fees and funding should not mean places suddenly become limited. A spokesperson said: “Finding the right balance is likely to involve making a series of difficult trade-offs.”

    This Government-led review will examine all aspects of student funding, including maintenance grants. The current rate of fees will stay in place at least until the application cycle for 2020-21, in the light of both the freeze on fee rises and this year-long review.

     

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