Goodbye Yellow Pages

The local business directory that helped JR Hartley find his book on fly-fishing is set to go out of print.

The Yellow Pages will no longer be published on paper from next year onwards, more than five decades after it launched in the UK.

Its owner, Yell, has announced that the first of its 104 final editions will be distributed in Kingston next January.

A year later, a final directory will be sent out in Brighton, where it was first published in 1966.

Yell, the UK operation owned by Hibu, is going fully digital and says that it hopes to “help a million businesses be found, chosen and trusted by more customers online by 2020”.

A household staple – and handy doorstop – for years, Yellow Pages was known for its advertisements, among them the JR Hartley classic and the one featuring a hungover teenager in desperate need of a French polisher…

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New Government Proposals to Cut Congestion on Busiest Roads

Delays to motorists caused by utility companies digging up busy roads could be halved under new proposals announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

The proposals would allow local authorities to charge utility companies by the hour to carry out works on selected routes, encouraging them to avoid busy roads and peak times, and incentivising them to join together when they do need to dig up congested routes.

The 2.5 million roadworks currently carried out each year cost the economy £4 billion because people are unable to get to work on time or deliveries are delayed, resulting in higher costs for business.  The proposals outlined today could improve journey-times for drivers at the same time as delivering a boost to the economy.

Successful trials in London and Kent have already seen severe congestion caused by utility works fall by more than half.

Firms could avoid the charges by carrying out works during evenings and weekends or coordinating their plans.  In London, utility companies have worked together more than 600 times since the trials began, up from just 100 beforehand.

The schemes also act as an incentive for companies to avoid congested routes and peak times where possible.

Giving councils more options in how they can manage roadworks will help support the delivery of national infrastructure projects such as the rollout of broadband fibre…

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Solar Power Deal will Lower Social Tenants’ Energy Bills

Solar panels are to be installed in 800,000 low-income homes across England and Wales over the next five years, as part of a new government scheme.

The Dutch firm, Maas Capital is investing £160m in the project.

The panels are expected to save 100,000 tenants living in social housing hundreds of pounds, according to the UK firm Solarplicity.

The first tenants to benefit from the scheme include residents of a sheltered retirement home in Ealing, west London.

Speaking at the site, International Trade minister Greg Hands said, “This initial £160m capital expenditure programme will deliver massive benefits to some of the UK’s poorest households.

“As well as creating 1,000 jobs and delivering cheaper energy bills for up to 800,000 homes, it shows yet another vote of confidence in the UK as a place to invest and do business.”

The firm providing the panels, Solarplicity, will partner with more than 40 social landlords, including local authorities across England and Wales.

Tenants in the North West will be the biggest beneficiaries with more than 290,000 homes receiving solar panels in towns and cities such as Oldham and Bradford.

The North East and Midlands will also see a significant number of homes benefit.

Tenants will not pay anything towards the installation of the panels and their energy bills will be reduced by an average of £240 per year according to the Department for International Trade…

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Car Key Alert from Staffordshire Police

Staffordshire Police are reminding residents to be on their guard and to review home and vehicle security following an increase in the number of burglaries where offenders have targeted the property with a view to stealing the keys and vehicle at the property.

The Police urge residents to ensure their property is secure at all times, including all doors and windows and that items of value and keys are stored away out of view.

Offenders often target properties with high value/high performance vehicles on the driveway however this is not always the case!  If keys are visible through windows and doors then offenders will break in; take the keys and make off in the vehicle.

Let’s not make it easy for them!

If you have any information which could assist us with our enquiries, please contact us on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

For more home and vehicle security advice and information please visit the force website.

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New Driving Test Coming This Way in December

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed that the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will change from Monday 4 December 2017.

The 4 driving test changes

  1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes.  During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

This part of the test will be made longer, so it will last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

  1. Following directions from a Sat Nav

During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a Sat Nav.

The examiner will provide the Sat Nav (a Tom-Tom Start 52) and set it up.  You will not need to set the route, the examiner will do this for you.  So, it does not matter what make or model of Sat Nav you practise with.

You cannot follow directions from your own Sat Nav during the test, you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

You will be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you are going if you are not sure.  It will not matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

One in 5 driving tests will not use a Sat Nav.  You will need to follow traffic signs instead.

  1. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

You will be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic
  1. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

You will be asked the:

  • ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers
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One Pint of Beer Please, That Will Be £13.40!

A pub in London has denied “gouging” customers by charging £13.40 for one pint of beer.

The Rake, in Borough Market, has hit back at criticism after a picture of its menu was posted on Twitter showing a pint of Cloudwater DIPA, Citra & Amarillo cost £13.40.

Experts say that on average a pint takes 10.5 sips to drink – equating in this case to £1.27 a sip.

Utobeer, which operates The Rake, denied claims it was “gouging our customers” or making “vast profits.”

The firm said logistics meant the beer had to be ordered through a distributor, making it more expensive, and pointed out that at 9% strength it was “never going to be cheap.”

Utobeer said in a statement, “We are not making ‘vast profits’, we work to a margin like all businesses and if we stopped we’d start losing money and eventually go out of business…

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Carling Lager is Weaker than Advertised

The alcohol content of Carling – one of the most popular lagers in the UK – is weaker than advertised, it has emerged.

Carling advertises the lager as 4% alcohol by volume (ABV) but it has been brewed at 3.7% since 2012, its US owners Molson Coors have said.

ABV was reduced in order to cut tax on Carling products, the firm said during a hearing brought by HMRC.

Molson Coors said beer was allowed to have a natural variation of 0.5%, and said customers had not been misled.

There is no suggestion Molson Coors has broken any laws.

Beer brewed in the UK is subject to excise duty decided by its alcoholic strength – meaning stronger products pay higher rates of tax.

According to documents from the tax tribunal – held in February and March this year – HMRC argued Carling had underpaid tax by more than £50m between 1 September 2012 and 31 January 2015.

It claimed the owners of Carling should have paid tax according to the 4% alcohol strength stated on cans, bottles and other products…

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