30/01/2018

Other News In Brief

Man Convicted Of Benefit Fraud

A man has been convicted for claiming benefits he was not entitled to at Coleraine Magistrates Court.

James McCooke claimed Jobseeker's Allowance and Housing Benefit totalling £6,565 while failing to declare employment. He was given a four month prison sentence suspended for two years.

He is also required to repay any money wrongfully obtained to the Department.

Proposed New Boundary Changes Are 'Bizarre' - Alliance

Alliance MLA David Ford has said proposed new boundary changes are "bizarre".

Under the proposed new constituencies, Northern Ireland's overall seats will be reduced from 18 to 17, however, Belfast is set to retain its four seats, a move South Antrim MLA Mr Ford said was not sustainable or practical.

He said: "The original proposals in 2016 included three constituencies for Belfast, which is now entitled to fewer than three seats within the city boundary. Now the plans show four seats for the city. This means the boundaries of the four Belfast city constituencies would extend well beyond the city and far into the countryside.

"To sustain those four seats, the proposals see a seat lost elsewhere and therefore the likes of Newtownards and Banbridge end up in the same proposed constituency. That is just bizarre."

Council Urged To Sign Up To Refill Scheme

Ards and North Down Borough Council is being urged to sign up to a refill scheme aimed at cutting waste.
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Green Party Councillor Rachel Woods made the call and is set to put a motion to the council next week calling for a report to be put together on how it could designate itself as Refill Ards and North Down.

Councillor Woods said the Refill Scheme was pioneered in Bristol in 2015 by City to Sea and now offers around 200 water refill points across the city centre.

She said: "The group secured funding to expand the idea across the UK through the free app and as members will be aware, it has received increased press and media interest in the last few weeks as it is to be rolled out as a national scheme in England in the next few years, with some big household names signing up including Costa Coffee and Premier Inn hotels.

"The basic premise of the refill scheme is that participating bars, cafes, restaurants, banks, galleries, shops, museums and other businesses put a sticker in their window which alerts people that they are welcome to come in with their water bottle and fill it up for free.

"There is also an app that people can download and the businesses or organisations sign up to. A map system shows users where they are welcome to go, or if one isn’t on it, users can highlight a friendly business or shop for others to see."“Until now, only a few places have been added to the app in Northern Ireland. I would like to see this expand across the country in a big way, helping to encourage people to refill their bottles rather than throw them away and for our council to be the leaders in promoting this activity."

(CD/MH)

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