UK-US Trade Deal to Happen Quickly

US President Donald Trump has said he expects a trade deal with the UK to be completed “very, very quickly”.

Speaking at the G20 summit in Hamburg, he also said he will come to London.

The US president is holding one-to-one talks with UK Prime Minister Theresa May shortly to discuss a post Brexit trade deal.

It is one of a series of one-to-one meetings with world leaders which will also see Mrs May hold trade talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Mr Trump told reporters that he expected an agreement on new trading arrangements with Britain that was “very powerful” and would be great for both countries…

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Meet Your Mercian Ward Councillors This Saturday

Tamworth Rugby Club, Wigginton Park, Tamworth

Tamworth Borough Council’s Mercian ward councillors will be holding their next residents surgery on Saturday 8th July.

The monthly surgery will take place at Tamworth Rugby Club in Wigginton Park from 11am until noon.  The meetings are well attended by the three Mercian ward councillors and residents alike.

If you have a concern affecting the North side of Tamworth or just want to meet your elected representatives then why not pop into the rugby club.  Michael Greatorex, Andrew James and Richard Kingstone to support residents with their concerns.

Cllr Greatorex said, “If you live in Mercian ward and have any concerns, questions or comments about the area you would like to raise with your local councillors, please come along and meet us on Saturday.

“If residents cannot make the surgery we can be contacted by telephone, in writing or via email. Our contact details can be found on the Borough Council website or by calling Tamworth Borough Council on 01827 709709.”

Mercian ward covers Lichfield Road, Riverside, Coton Lane, Coton Green, Leyfields, Comberford Road, Coton Lane Estate, Ludd Lane and Freville Close.

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Parents Urged to Remind Teenagers to Get MenACWY Vaccine

Parents are being reminded this summer to encourage their 18 year old children to get vaccinated against deadly meningitis and septicaemia.

Those who are due to leave school this summer, or aged 17 to 18 and are not in school (born between 1 September 1998 and 31 August 1999) are now eligible.

The MenACWY jab protects against four strains of meningococcal disease, which cause meningitis and septicaemia, known as strains A, C, W and Y. MenW is one of the most aggressive and life threatening forms and meningococcal disease can be fatal.  Many survivors are left with life changing disabilities, including brain damage and loss of limbs.

The MenACWY vaccine remains the best form of protection against the A, C, W, and Y strains with a 100% effectiveness rate in those that have been vaccinated so far.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE said, “The MenACWY vaccination programme will save lives and prevent lifelong and devastating disability.  We have seen a rapid increase in MenW cases across England in recent years and vaccination is the most effective way of protecting against infection.

“Young people are particularly at risk as they are carriers of the disease.  Being in confined environments with close contact, such as university halls, hostels when travelling, or attending festivals, increase the chances of infection if unprotected.

“Get vaccinated as soon as possible, remain vigilant and seek urgent medical help if you have concerns for yourself or friends.”

New entrants to higher education (university freshers) are also eligible.  Anyone who is eligible and has missed vaccination in previous year’s remains eligible up to their 25th birthday and is urged to have the MenACWY vaccine.

While the vaccine also helps protect against Men A, C, W and Y, it does not cover all forms of meningococcal disease.  It is therefore important for parents and young people to be vigilant in spotting early symptoms and to seek early medical assistance if they are concerned.  Not everyone will develop these symptoms and they can appear in any order but common symptoms may include:

  • pale, blotchy skin with or without a rash
  • irritability and/or confusion
  • severe headache, joint or muscle pains
  • dislike of bright lights
  • stiff neck
  • convulsions or seizures
  • fever, cold hands and feet
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • drowsiness or difficult to wake up

Vinny Smith, Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation said, “Sadly, we know too many people who have been struck down by MenW.  18 year old Lauren Sandell fell ill last year in her second week of university, having tried to get the vaccine before leaving home.  She mistook her early symptoms for a mild case of food poisoning.  2 days later, her symptoms got rapidly worse and she died just as the ambulance arrived.

“If you don’t know whether you are entitled to the free vaccine, our online eligibility checker will make it easy to find out.  If everyone who is eligible gets it, this will not only protect them but will also help protect others by stopping the bacteria from spreading.”

Dr Tom Nutt, Chief Executive at the charity Meningitis Now, said, “It’s vital that young people and their parents are not complacent about the threat of meningitis, and we urge all those eligible for this lifesaving vaccination to arrange to get it today.

“Meningitis can be a devastating disease, killing 1 in 10 and leaving a third of survivors with lifelong after-effects such as hearing loss, epilepsy, limb loss or learning difficulties.  With teenagers being a high-risk group, we welcome this timely reminder for parents to ensure their loved ones take this easy step to help protect themselves.”

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Councillors to Review Fire Safety in Tamworth

A special meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee has been called to review the policies and procedures for fire safety within all council-owned blocks of flats in Tamworth.

At their last meeting on June 22, members of the committee decided to timetable a dedicated session when the issue could be looked at in depth in light of the Grenfell Tower fire.  This will take place in Committee Room 1 in Marmion House on Tuesday, August 8.

Residents of Tamworth’s high-rise flats have all been reassured in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy that fire inspections are up to date and the approach to fire safety complies with relevant regulations and fire service advice.

Tamworth Borough Council had already committed to fitting sprinklers throughout the high-rise buildings as part of a planned refurbishment programme and consultations about this work are due to take place over the summer, with installation work to hopefully begin later this year.

Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Andrew James, said: “We are confident that proper fire safety procedures and policies are in place and up to date, but the purpose of scrutiny is to research, support and review commitments to high-rise safety so we all work together to ensure this remains a priority going forward.

Cllr James continued, “We wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we didn’t take a closer look at this in light of the Grenfell Tower incident.”

Although members of the public are not able to take part in the discussions at this particular meeting, they are welcome to attend and listen to what is being said.

If residents have any specific questions or concerns, they are invited to contact the Housing Team on 01827 709491.

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Carrying a Knife in Staffordshire Could Lead to a Spell Behind Bars

As part of Staffordshire Police’s efforts to reduce knife-related crime, they are launching a new Knife Amnesty for 2017 and are hoping it will take more bladed items off the streets.

If you carry a knife or have a dangerous or illegal knife at home, they are asking you to “bin it.”

Staffordshire Police’s Knife Amnesty, which will take place 10th-16th July, will see knife bins located across the county enabling members of the public to get rid of any knives that are either illegal or surplus to requirements.  All knives collected will be given to the British Ironwork Centre for them to use, as part of a sculpture they hope will appear on a Trafalgar Square plinth.

The presence of the knife bins will be complemented by sessions in schools to help educate schoolchildren on the dangers of carrying knives.

Local Youth Offender Teams in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will be engaging with young people to discourage them from carrying and using knives.  Plus Trading Standards will also be educating and inspecting businesses that sell knives to ensure they are doing everything possible to prevent a sale to an under-18.

This is Staffordshire’s second knife amnesty with the first taking place in June and July last year.  In 2016 the public gave up close to 1,000 knives and it saw knife crime drop 18% during the dates of the amnesty.  However, the use of knives in all crimes has continued to increase nationally between April 2016 and April 2017.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Jones, head of local policing and operations at Staffordshire Police, said, “We would like to repeat the successes of last year where we reduced the likelihood of people carrying or using knives throughout the amnesty period.  Sadly there are still some people who believe carrying a knife or storing a knife as a weapon in their home is a good idea and something that they need to do to fit in or be seen as tough.

“The truth of the matter is that you are far more likely to be hurt if you have a knife with around 70% of all people admitted to hospital with knife injuries stabbed with their own knife.  It makes no sense whatsoever to carry a knife – so don’t, take the opportunity during the amnesty to get rid and save yourself and your family from the senseless pain that knife carrying can bring.

“Play your part in reducing knife crime by reporting people who you know or suspect may be carrying a weapon illegally.  Call your local police on 101, or dial 999 if a crime is in progress or a life is in danger.  If you can’t talk to police, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or using their online reporting form and give information about crime anonymously.”

Click here for a full list of the knife bin locations.

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Happy 80th Birthday 999

Today marks 80 years since the emergency call system 999 was launched in London on 30 June 1937 and it was the first of its kind in the world, introducing a special signal indicating to the telephone operator that the call must receive immediate attention.

The 999 call system was introduced after a two-year inquiry, following the deaths of five women in a fire at Wimpole Street in London in 1935.

The choice of 999 was because in the dark or in dense smoke 999 could be dialled on the old rotary telephones by placing a finger against the dial stop and rotating the dial to its full extent three times.

The first week of the service saw it take more than 1,000 calls. They were indicated by red lamps and a loud klaxon.  The first call was made by a Mrs Beard in Hampstead, north London, and led to the arrest of burglar Thomas Duffy.

Now, Staffordshire Police takes about 146,000 999 calls a year. Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday morning are the busiest times for 999 calls and we have a target of answering 90% within 10 seconds.

Matt Goldsmith, Contact Services Manager, said: “We urge people who have dialled 999 for a genuine reason and then decided that the police are not required to stay on the line and speak to one of our call handlers.  We will always call them back to make sure all is ok and this can take time and impact on others who have an emergency.”

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Supermarkets Urged to Introduce Plastic-Free Aisle

Supermarkets are being urged to reduce the amount of plastic used in food packaging, in a bid to fight the tonnes of waste packaging clogging up the world’s oceans.

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of campaign group A Plastic Planet, told Sky News, “Our campaign is super simple. We want supermarkets to create a plastic-free aisle.

“You can now buy wheat-free, gluten-free, fat-free but you can’t buy plastic-free”…

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