Monthly Archives: November 2013

Martha Lane Fox, a 'force of nature' to get Britons online -but family carers need special help!


Martha Lane Fox.


Maybe I just don’t know enough about what chief executives of major FTSE 100 companies get up to, but I’m mildly gobsmacked to find half a dozen of them hanging out in Gateshead on a wet Wednesday in October. At a reception for local councillors, I stumble across the CEOs of Argos and E.ON deep in conversation and watch the CEO of Everything Everywhere, a Dutchman of athletic build enjoying a casual lunchtime sandwich with a member of north Tyneside council.

“I am impressed,” the latter tells me later, “with the seniority of the people here.” He’s not kidding. But then, another CEO, Dido Harding, of TalkTalk, explains it me. They’re here “because Martha told us to be”. It just about sums it up. We’re all here, the CEOs, the local councillors, the cream of the north-east’s business fraternity, dozens of community groups, a hundred or so volunteers, me, because Martha told us to be.

450,000 elderly people 'facing Christmas alone' this year

Age UK is calling for elderly people to contact its support services rather than spend Christmas alone as research finds that many have no-one to turn to as the festive period approaches


Many elderly people are facing Christmas alone, the charity Age UK warned.

More than a quarter of pensioners are not looking forward to Christmas because of loneliness and concerns that it brings back bad memories, according to research.

Some 26 per cent of older people – the equivalent of 2.8 million in Britain – suggested that the festive season would not be a time of happiness this year.

It emerged that some 450,000 over-65s faced the prospect of Christmas alone while large numbers of also feared it “brought back too many memories of those who had passed away”.

Research also found that almost one-in-five had concerns about not being able to get out because of the cold weather and shorter days.

25 reasons your MP must kill David Cameron’s Bedroom Tax

No thank you: A demonstration against bedroom tax in Newcastle Upon Tyne
No thank you: A demonstration against bedroom tax in Newcastle Upon Tyne

In the House of Commons, MPs face a critical vote on the Bedroom Tax – called by Labour.

The party is using ‘Opposition Day’ to bring forward a motion on the tax that calls for an immediate end to the policy.

It also asks the House to regret its “pernicious effect on vulnerable, and in many cases disabled, people” and calls the government reverse tax cuts for the wealthiest people instead.