Twelve ‘Online Scams’ of Christmas

Harmful viruses in e-cards, online shopping fraud and adverts for bogus holidays are three of the twelve scams of Christmas that have been identified in a new campaign launched by National Trading Standards eCrime Team in conjunction with a group of other agencies for the first time in a bid to protect festive online shoppers.

National Trading Standards say: “The festive period is traditionally the most lucrative for scammers, who prey on people’s good will at this time of year to defraud consumers. In the coming weeks we expect more and more people to make transactions online, including shopping for gifts, applying for loans, booking train tickets and bidding in online auctions.

“In most cases presents and other goods will be delivered without a hitch, but for thousands of people across the UK Christmas will be spoiled, or even ruined, by heartless rogue traders and criminals operating online scams. We urge people to be vigilant when shopping online this festive season – if you are in any doubt about a transaction avoid purchasing the product.”

“Scammers like to exploit the pre-Christmas online shopping rush, particularly while consumers’ minds are focused on plans for Christmas and New Year. So it’s really important that National Trading Standards e-crime Team, Action Fraud, and Getsafe Online work together to ensure we’re all aware of the kinds of scams and rip-offs that do the rounds at this time of year.”

The twelve scams identified are:
Online shopping
Christmas e-cards
Auction fraud
Holiday Fraud
Loan and investment scams
Ticketing fraud
Donating to charity
Mobile, malware and malicious apps
Money transfers
Social media scams
Dating fraud
Mobile payments

More detailed information in this BBC article.

More Publicly Accessible Defibrillators Needed!

We have recently been doing some work on the accessibility of ‘publicly accessible defibrillators’ in our local area.

Defibrillators Statistics show that your chances of surviving many types of heart attack increase from 0% to 40% with early CPR and early defibrillation. It is important to stress that good first aid training is also important – normally when a emergency defibrillator is put in place then training should be given to key people nearby.

In a formal question to Bury Council earlier this year, my Lib Dem college Cllr Tim Pickstone discorvered that the council did not keep records of publicly accessible defibrillators in Bury. Further investigations have revealed that there are NONE registered with the ambulance service in the Prestwich area (it may be that some forward thinking businesses or organisation have got them – just not registered with the Ambulance service – there are ones at Prestwich Hospital, but this isn’t normally a public site, and when its open there is one at the Walk-in Centre.

Until this year Bury Council was the ONLY council in Great Manchester which did not have defibrillators in its sport centres, but they are now going ahead with defibs in the Town Hall and the sports centres in Radcliffe, Bury and Ramsbottom – but what about Prestwich and Whitefield?

We have written to the council asking them to include the Longfield in a scheme and has also written to Prestwich Tesco and Heaton Park Sainsbury’s to see what they might do. As we understand it ASDA have defibs in all their stores nationally.

Sports facilities are a key location for debibs. If you’re a member of Total Fitness Whitefield or Virgin Active Middleton there are debibs there, but if you’re a member at Village Bury then they just don’t have them apparently – perhaps worth contacted them as a member!

It seems ridiculous – and life threatening – that the Prestwich area is so poorly served for publicly accessible defibrillators. If you are involved in a community organisation or sports group in Prestwich that would be interested in working with use to raise money or grants for a defibrillator please get in touch.

Mary

Metrolink Overnight Works

Metrolink have written to councillors to inform us that they will be carrying out a rolling programme of overnight cabling and ducting works at various locations along the Bury line from the Queen’s Road junction to Bury Metrolink stop between midnight and 5am from now until 19th December, 2014.

No work will take place over the Christmas and New Year period and will then re-commence on 4th January and continue until 27th February, 2015.

No work will take place between 5am on Fridays and midnight on Sundays.

This work can only take place outside normal working hours when the trams are not in operation.

3,000 affected properties adjacent to the Metrolink line have been sent a more detailed letter – copy here.

Please let me know if you need more information or you need us to get in touch with Metrolink.

I Will If You Will – Tell us what you think

I Will, if You Will has been a in Bury (funded by Government) to encourage women and girls to feel the benefits of getting more active. Over the last 12 months, IWIYW has been piloted in Bury to see what helps create a shift in attitude and what encourages more women and girls to be more active, more often

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Over 7,000 new participants took part in IWIYW activities, sf ever £30,000 was allocated to local community groups to engage with women and girls

Between now and the end of the year, the team are now running a consultation to give everyone a chance to have their say on what IWIYW will look like in 2015.

Make sure you choose the relevant feedback survey for you:

CLICK HERE if you’ve taken part in IWIYW activities, are an IWIYW champion or just want to have your say.

CLICK HERE if you’re a stakeholder, community group or organisation

Save Bury Children’s Centres – Please sign the petition

The ‘Save Bury Children’s Centres’ campaign group is having a ‘final push’ to encourage local residents to sign their online petition to save the Childrens’ Centres which are threatened with closure by Bury Council:

Bury Council is trying to close Butterstile, Toodle Hill, Daisyfield, High Meadow, Moorside, Stepping Stones, and Ramsbottom Children’s Centres. Their plan is that they want them to be independently run nurseries.

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In the Prestwich area the Council is proposing to close TWO children’s centres – Toodle Hill on Cuckoo Lane, and Butterstile off Butterstile Lane. Other areas are seeing less proposed closures – just ONE closure in Bury East, and NO closures in Radcliffe and Whitefield.

Children’s centres are lifelines for so many. Offering parentcraft classes, vital breastfeeding support (considered already to be a key focus of new Bury Council plans), and opportunities to meet other mums/parents/carers, the plans will cut children’s centres from the most deprived areas. They will therefore hit the most vulnerable.

In addition, it is particularly sad that the Council is proposing to close two important ‘community resources’ in the Prestwich area. Toodle Hill on Cuckoo Lane  (actually in Whitefield) is the only non-Church community facility anywhere between Simister and Prestwich Village. Butterstile serves an area of Prestwich which has hardly any community facilities, and public transport links (e.g. from Rainsough) are poor.

Please support the online petition, if successful it would mean that a special debate would have to be held by Bury Council.

Sign the online petition here.

Croft Lane Closure: Update

The following information is from United Utilities:

Update – Croft Lane, Bury

Christmas Break
Croft Lane will be reopened from Saturday 20 December until close again on Monday 5 January 2015.

Shuttle Bus Service
The shuttle bus service we have provided for Blackford House Medical Centre will be temporarily suspended from Friday 19 December and will resume on Monday 5 January 2015.

Still have a question?
Please call: 0345 672 3723 quoting project number NCA 80028286.

Autumn Statement: Highlights

The Coalition Government made its ‘Autumn Statement’ on spending plans this week – the last before the elections next May.

Five highlights which the Liberal Democrats in Government are happy to announce:

Help for low and middle earners
The the tax-free Personal Allowance by another £100, giving basic rate taxpayers a further tax cut of £120. This means we’ve now cut taxes for millions of people by £820 since the Government started.

Stamp duty cuts
Stamp duty has been cut for the majority of homebuyers and risen on the most expensive houses. 98% of buyers will pay the same amount of stamp duty or less. Stamp duty on the average priced home will fall by £4,500 while the sale of a £5 million house will cost £163,750 more.

More apprencticeships
Employers will not have to pay National Insurance Contributions for apprentices aged under 25 on earnings up to the upper earnings limit. This substantially brings down the cost of hiring apprentices and encourages businesses to hire even more.

More money for the NHS
An extra £2 billion money for the NHS in 2015/16 in the Autumn Statement. The extra cash comes from a combination of bank fines collected by the Financial Conduct Authority and a variety of departmental savings.

Extra Help for Small Businesses and the High Street
Small businesses will get more help thanks to an extension of the doubling of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) – now be extended for a further year through to 31st March 2016. We have also announced that we will provide extra support for the high street by giving a £1,500 discount to retail properties in business rates.

A full list of the announcements made in the Autumn Statement are on the BBC website here.

New Motorway Schemes Announced

On Monday the Government made a detailed announcement on investment in roads across the country. In the North West, this amounts to nine new schemes, worth about £800 million and estimated to create 600 jobs in construction.

Three will be of particular interest to local residents:

M60 Junction 18 (Simister Island)
“Improvement to the Simister Island interchange between the M62, M60 and M66 to the north east of Manchester. Introduces more free-flowing movements to substantially improve 1 of the busiest junctions in the north west.”
We have asked for more information on this, as the details will no doubt be of interest to residents who live near to the motorways (the Motorway is already right up to the houses on at least one side of Simister Island),

M62 Smart Motrway M62 J20-25
“Smart motorways across the Pennines, from Rochdale to Brighouse. Links 2 existing smart motorway sections to create a continuous smart route from Manchester to Leeds.”
We’ll all familiar of the work which is currently being undertaken (or at least the cones that have been put in place!) to make a ‘smart’ motorway from Rochdale round to the Trafford Centre – hopefully to increase capacity and reduce congestion. The plan is to extend this work over to West Yorkshire.

Manchester North West Quadrant Study
“Study of how to improve all modes of transport to the north and west of Manchester to ensure the road network can continue to support the city’s growth.”
Not sure if this means us or not, but Prestwich is certainly north of Manchester!

We’ll try to find out more information and let residents know.