Unemployment benefits to be earned through community work

by Mark Sheppard

Unemployed young people will have to do community work to gain benefits if the Conservatives win the General Election in May.

David Cameron has said all 18-21-year-olds who have been without a job, training or education for six months will no longer be able to claim benefits until they begin an apprenticeship or complete community work.

This is part of the Conservatives’ scheme to reduce youth unemployment and limit the amount of benefits available to those who lack the motivation to work, making sure they “don’t get sucked into a life on welfare”.

Harry Bibby, 18, said: “Paid community work is a good idea as it will help to give people an idea of what it is really like to have a responsibility and to earn money.”

Young people who have been out of work for six months will no longer be able to claim job seekers allowance, but completing the community work means they will be paid £57.35 per week at roughly the same rate as job seekers allowance.

In order to receive this allowance they will have to complete a total of 30 hours community work, in addition to 10 hours spent looking for a job per week from the first day of claiming.

The Tories also plan to cap benefit costs at £23,000 and this will help to fund three million apprenticeships.

Mr Bibby said, “This encourages people to actually work for a living, as opposed to living off a low amount of money.

“Apprenticeships provide money and experience and it means that people will be able to train for even higher jobs and get qualifications.”

These plans rest on the upcoming election but should the Conservatives win, David Cameron is hoping this new scheme will help young people to create opportunities for themselves.

Live broadcast of Richard III’s burial to boost Leicester’s image

by Mark Sheppard

The burial of Richard III will be broadcast live, putting Leicester back on the map as a city of character and personality.

Following his remains being discovered beneath a Leicester car park in 2012 and a legal battle to allow him to be buried in the city, the former King of England will finally be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral on March 26.

Channel 4 has won the rights to conduct a live broadcast of this occasion, enhancing the city’s cultural image in front of a large audience.

Matthew Titchiner, 23, an employee at the Richard III Visitor Centre, has said: “It puts Leicester on the map, brings a focus to the city and turns it into an all round visitor attraction.”

The first programme to air will be on March 22, as the Monarch’s remains are transferred from Leicester University through a number of towns and villages in a hearse going to the Cathedral.

Mr Titchiner said: “His body will be in the Cathedral for the three days before the burial for people to pay their respects.”

The public will be able to view the coffin between 9.00–12.30 and 14.00–17.00 on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday 24 and from 9.00–12.30 on the 25.

A total of 600 people will attend this televised spectacle, including members of the royal family and the Archbishop of Canterbury, which will help to develop Leicester’s character as a city of culture and heritage.

The reinterment service will take place on the morning of March 26, before the closure of the Cathedral for the construction of Richard III’s tomb.

There will be a service on March 27 to commemorate the Monarch’s journey, revealing the sealed tomb to members of the public.

Apple Watch due in Leicester store on April 24

By Jessica Delannoy

The highly anticipated Apple Watch due to be released on April 24 has received a mixed reaction in Leicester.

Rumours about the Apple product have been circulating across the western hemisphere but Apple this week made it clear that the product is not called the ‘iWatch’, as many people assumed, but is indeed called the Apple Watch.

Michelle, 29, a sales assistant in the Apple Store, Leicester said: “We at Apple love the Watch and all its features and I’ll definitely be buying one. It’s highly anticipated as it’s a brand new type of product here, just like when we first launched the iPad so customers are very excited about the release.”

But Barry Weeks, 39, of Leicester described the Apple Watch release as ‘completely sad’. He said it was just a gimmick.

“Some people are mad enough to buy it and some people aren’t. I can buy myself a Bluetooth watch for 50 quid, people are just wasting money.”

The watch is said to come in multiple variants to appeal to many people such as a sport model, with leather or metallic straps and a Milanese edition. The 19 carat gold edition of the watch starts at £8,000, but the standard Apple Watch starts from £299.

The watch will go on sale in the UK from April 24 and customers will be able to try on the device in store from April 10. Advance appointments need to be booked.

Campaign hits back at Westminster for lack of housing

by Cameron Titchmarsh

A joint campaign aims to raise awareness of the on-going housing crisis that is affecting not just Leicestershire but the whole of Britain.

Only 130,000 new houses are built each year when a predicted 240,000 new houses are needed.

With the General Elections just weeks away the East Midlands Housing Group and the National Housing Federation hope their campaign will push the housing crisis onto the main parties agendas and give it the exposure it so desperately needs.

Jim Patman, a chair of the East Midlands Housing Group and one of the main advocates of the campaign said: “The need for more housing and for the government to build more homes is one of the most important issues facing our country today and the parties need to face up to problem and start coming up with solutions.”

He said he hoped the campaign would get through to MPs in Westminster and ensure more housing was built for future generations.

Joining with the National Housing Federation has allowed the East Midlands Housing Group to travel around the country promoting their ideas for more new housing to be built.

An official march takes place in Westminster on March 17 to take their message directly to MPs in Parliament.

Businessman spent an unproductive week on jury duty after not being called up


By Lucy Ross

A Leicester businessman called up for jury service was left frustrated and out of pocket despite never being going into court.

Clive Ross, 55 received his second and compulsory jury letter in January 2015 summoning him to Leicester Magistrates Country Court. Given six weeks notice, Clive had no choice but to accept the invitation after deferring his first due to work commitments.

With the equivalent of minimum wage to contribute to the family funds when on jury duty, he became annoyed as all he could do was sit around waiting to be called up rather than being at work.

Mr Ross said: “You can sit in the jury assembly room all day and not be called or selected.”

After a week of reading books and playing Scrabble in the jury assembly room instead of being at work, he was let go and told that he was no longer needed.

Sworn to secrecy, the jurors were unable to talk about cases that they had been on or are currently on with anyone.

He said: “Time goes very slowly, waiting for the court doors to open and for your name to be called.”

Mr Ross was left relieved when he could go back to work after he was given permission to return back to his day-to-day life at work.

He has argued that people accept that they have no choice but to attend as it is only for two weeks, however, they find the wage inconvenient and feel that the amount paid for jury duty should match what they earn in their jobs, as they have to miss work.

Jury summons is unavoidable unless you have an excusable circumstance. Deferring once is likely, however not to serve at all is very difficult. Non-attendance could lead to a fine or an arrest.