The government is to bring in new laws that will tackle the “exploitation” of a scheme that allows wheelchair-users to buy significantly-adapted vehicles without having to pay any VAT.The new laws were announced in this week’s autumn statement document, but were not mentioned in the chancellor’s speech to MPs.The Treasury expects to save £20 million through the new measures in 2017-18.The VAT relief on the purchase price of an adapted vehicle – when the price of a non-adapted car has to include 20 per cent VAT – means the buyer can make a substantial profit if they remove the adaptations and resell the vehicle.An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs estimated that as much as £30 million of the £65 million annual cost of the VAT relief scheme was accounted for by people “exploiting” the system.One individual who took advantage of it was found to have bought 70 Range Rovers, 20 Mercedes and five Porsches in just two years, while another bought 30 BMWs in a single day, according to the Treasury.A Treasury spokeswoman said: “Individuals are using the scheme to buy extremely high-end cars with minor adaptations and are then reversing those adaptations and selling these cars on for a profit.”She said she did not have further details of who was responsible for “ripping off the scheme”, but she added: “It’s clearly not disabled people.”She said the people losing out from the changes would not be disabled people, but “the people exploiting the scheme”.The measures to clamp down on abuse of the exemption, which is supposed to apply to vehicles that have been “substantially and permanently adapted” – through changes such as having hoists or lifts installed, or floors lowered – will mean wheelchair-users will only be able to buy a VAT-free car once every three years.There will be exceptions, for example if someone needs to replace a car that has been written off in an accident, or if their needs have changed substantially.Car dealers will also need to provide details of all of their zero-rated sales to HM Revenue and Customs.The autumn statement announcement has taken disability organisations by surprise, as a consultation on the proposals ended in September 2014, following a mention in the 2014 budget.A substantial majority (80 per cent) of those who took part in the 2014 consultation supported changes to the system to deal with abuse.The government said two years ago that the scheme was “being targeted and abused by individuals and organisations that purchase vehicles at the zero rate of VAT in order to sell them on for profit”.There were also concerns that dealers were adding “unnecessary and dangerous” adaptations in order to supply the vehicle at the zero rate of VAT, before being removed post-sale.A spokeswoman for Disabled Motoring UK said the charity hoped the change would “safeguard the concession”, as continuing widespread abuse would have “put the exemption in jeopardy”.She said: “It is quite clear there is some kind of abuse going on. I heard somebody was buying several Lamborghinis.“They have reassured us that if somebody’s condition changes or they require another vehicle then that exemption will be provided.”Declan O’Mahony, director of Motability, added: “Our position is the same as it was in 2014 when it was consulted on.“We would welcome some common sense tightening to prevent any abuse of the relief, because the relief is important to disabled people.”
Theresa May’s de facto deputy David Lidington went up against Labour’s Emily Thornberry this afternoon, in the first Prime Minister’s Questions session after Easter recess. That short break was filled with climate change protests, particularly news of nonviolent direction actions by Extinction Rebellion, and then 16-year-old Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg’s visit to Westminster hit headlines this week. As the PM failed to turn up to a round table discussion with the young activist yesterday, the opposition might have been expected to capitalise on the current interest in environmental issues. Instead, Thornberry chose a more difficult path.Thunberg argues that people aren’t willing to talk enough about global warming and ecocide, which is undeniably true. But it often seems as if most of the British public is even less willing to talk about Northern Ireland. As well as tributes to victims of the recent Sri Lanka attacks, PMQs started with acknowledgements of the murder of journalist Lyra McKee, whose funeral will be attended by May and Jeremy Corbyn at 1pm. Thornberry was well-placed to passionately condemn the ‘new IRA’, which has owned the killing in a statement that the Shadow Foreign Secretary called a “sickening throwback” to 20 years ago.Then, carefully and with a somber tone, Thornberry linked the killing of McKee to the Northern Irish border problem that has plagued Brexit. We need to solve the border issue “rather than give evil terrorists the divisions that they crave”, she argued. In his response, Lidington was hesitant and clearly uncomfortable. It is well-known that ‘Mr Europe’ is more favourable to a customs union than some of his colleagues. Eventually, he said that he didn’t think the murderers in Derry were motivated by customs arrangements, which made for a somewhat facetious reply.So followed the Brexit debate over membership of a UK-EU customs union that we’ve all now heard countless times. Thornberry later tapped into less complex themes when she condemned the state visit of Donald Trump, suggesting that perhaps he should be made to sit between Thunberg and the BBC’s David Attenborough and pointing out also that the trip is a “waste of money” as the US won’t agree a trade deal without a solution to the border problem. She was accused of raising issues due to leadership ambitions and of being in the “outer-inner circle” of the Labour leadership. But the frontbencher made no qualms about spelling out the bottom line: cross-party Brexit talks are going nowhere without government compromise on a customs union.Tags:PMQs /Northern Ireland /Emily Thornberry /Brexit /David Lidington /
Tags: immigration • sanctuary city Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Other board members also criticized the proposal.“What message are we sending to undocumented folks who are witnesses to a crime?” Supervisor Malia Cohen wanted to know, after asking Farrell to table his proposal. “We can talk all we want about improving public safety in this building, but if people in our communities don’t trust police, no level of police staffing is going to make communities safe.”Cohen’s rejection of Farrell’s proposal drew cheers and applause from the audience. The board voted 6-5 to table it.Supervisor David Campos’ proposal to openly reject the Priority Enforcement Program by encouraging the sheriff not to participate in it won unanimous support. Though the resolution is not legally binding, it was hailed as a small step forward.“This really would not have happened without the actions of the immigrant community,” said Kitzia Esteva, an activist with Causa Justa::Just Cause. “This is not the end of our work, but it is a victory.”The resolution to reject the enforcement program was amended by Supervisor London Breed to reflect certain exceptions that had already been put in place in previous local sanctuary laws. Esteva called these a “carve-out,” since they allow participation in immigration enforcement programs in certain cases, including ones where the suspect has been convicted of a felony.That kind of exception is problematic for people like Daniel Maher, an immigrant from Macau who served five years in prison for armed robbery. He has since reformed, becoming a recycling manager at the Berkeley Ecology Center and training at-risk youth for environmental jobs.“Given that carve-out… people with my similar situation, it doesn’t help them,” Maher said after the meeting. “Because of my history, I’m always going to be a target.” San Francisco supervisors unanimously adopted a non-binding policy Tuesday refusing to cooperate with a federal program that collects immigration details about suspects that makes it easier to deport undocumented immigrants.Supervisor John Avalos said that if local communities saw a link between law enforcement and immigration enforcement, “it would completely undermine… the trust we are trying to build within our city.”Immigrant advocates have criticized the Priority Enforcement Program for discouraging immigrants from contacting law enforcement when they witness or are the victims of crime.At a rally before the Board of Supervisors met, Yadira Sanchez, a 24-year-old San Francisco resident whose grandfather came very close to being deported after being mistaken for another man by the same name, called for the rejection of the program. 0% “ICE decided to make an ‘oops,’ a mistake. ICE has no transparency, no accountability,” Sanchez said referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With the enforcement program, “no one is safe,” she added.“We need solutions, not scapegoating,” said Dean Santo, an immigrant who was arrested for the theft of a small item and was subsequently sent to a detention center and pushed into deportation proceedings. His case, he said, was only resolved as a result of community pressure.Supervisors also rejected a proposal by Supervisor Mark Farrell that would have urged Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to rescind a memo he had sent in March of this year encouraging deputies not to communicate suspect information to immigration enforcement. That memo drew criticism when it was connected to the shooting death of Kate Steinle by an undocumented immigrant.“The sheriff’s memo, which prohibits any communication, flies in the face of the best interest for public safety for all San Franciscans,” Farrell said.When Farrell addressed the Board to explain his proposal, however, members of the public in attendance, most of whom had rallied for immigrant rights outside City Hall before the meeting, stood and turned their backs on the supervisor.
Tags: displacement • Fires • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% We will update this post with new information when it becomes available. In the wake of disasters like the five-alarm fire that engulfed a block near 29th and Mission on Saturday, outlets receive an outpouring of support for the victims. Here is a list of ways to help.Long-Term HousingThe biggest issue in the wake of fires with residential displacement is finding long-term housing for the displaced tenants. Some 58 people lost their homes in the fire — many of them formerly homeless who had recently found a place to stay — and will not be able to stay in shelters for long.Landlords with empty units can make use of the city’s Good Samaritan Program, which allows for a unit to be offered at below-market-rate rents to victims of disasters for two years. Following those two years, the landlord can terminate the tenancy or raise the rent. If you can provide long-term housing for any of the victims, please contact the Human Services Agency or a representative from Supervisor David Campos’s office. Hillary Ronen, Campos’s chief of staff, can be reached at 415-554-7739, and Carolyn Goosen, another staff member, can be reached at 415-554-7729.FundraisersSeveral Mission and Bernal businesses have hosted and arranged fundraisers, and they show no signs of slowing down. Here are a few that are still going or coming up:The Front Porch at 65 29th St. will host a benefit on July 5, from which all proceeds will go to fire victims. Reservations are being accepted from 5:30 to 10:30, and raffle tickets will be on sale.Rock Bar at 80 29th St. will also have buckets behind the bar for cash donations, and aim to raise $3,300 for the 3300 Club, according to Inside Scoop.And at Old Bus Tavern at 3193 Mission St., proceeds from the sale of Pisco Punch will be given to victims of the fire, though how those donations will be processed is unknown, according to Inside Scoop.Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack at 3230 Mission St. also has a donation box for fire victims, according to Inside Scoop.Business FundSeveral businesses were affected by the fire — Cole Hardware, the 3300 Club, Taco Loco, Plaza Azul, the Bernal Heights Collective, the Coronitas bar, and El Paisa, the last two with water damage. The Mission Bernal Merchants Association has set up a fund to channel money to the affected buildings and help them rebuild. All donations there are tax-deductible.At this time, families have all the clothing, toiletries, and other items that they need. Red Cross workers have told Mission Local that anything donated to the Salvation Army shelter on Valencia Street not needed by the families will be collected and redistributed to others.DonationsCity officials say cash is the most effective donation because of its flexibility and can be made to either the Red Cross or to the Salvation Army. We will update if and when there are pages specific to the 29th and Mission fire victims.Money can also be donated to a GoFundMe account started by Edwin Lindo, the former District Nine supervisorial candidate and Frisco Five hunger striker. As of Tuesday, the fundraiser had nearly $50,000 in donations, but organizers are hoping to raise as much as possible. GoFundMe will take seven to 15 percent of all donations in fees, according to Lindo.The Mission Economic Development Agency also has its own page where donations can be made to fire victims, though donors must specify near the bottom of the page that they want their money going towards the victims of the 29th and Mission fire. MEDA is responsible for processing donations from both its fundraiser and the GoFundMe account. MEDA also has a separate page listing various ways to help residential and commercial tenants displaced by the fire. Landlords who have commercial spaces for the displaced businesses, employers who can hire workers who have lost their jobs, or those who can provide housing can contact MEDA directly.
On the 30th January 2019, Daniel, a keen rugby fan who played for Crosfield ARLFC, was involved in a horrific road traffic accident which resulted in the 20-year-old suffering life-threatening injuries.Daniel was rushed to Aintree hospital and was fighting for his life. He had enormous swelling on his brain which resulted in heart, breathing and movement problems. Daniel punctured both lungs, fractured his back, right shoulder, elbow and hand. Unfortunately Daniel then lost his leg in the accident and was induced into a coma. His family were told the devastating news that Daniel was not going to recover.But months late, to the amazement of nurses and Daniel’s family, he has fought every battle that has come his way and is now leaps and bounds ahead of recovery and is both eating and speaking without assistance.Daniel’s family are holding a charity event at Eagle Sports Club in Warrington on Friday 7th June to raise money in the hope of providing him with the best artificial leg so he can possibly play rugby once again. There is also a Go Fund Me Page where fans can show their support for Daniel.For all enquiries into the charity night contact Joshrhill95@gmail.com.
(Photo: NC Ports) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Port of Wilmington will be part of a government program designed to help increase produce shipments to the United States.Port of Wilmington is being added to both phase one and two of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot Program.- Advertisement – This will allow more direct imports of produce from across the Americas and other countries in the cold treatment program than ever before.Cold treatment is a process in which perishable fruits have their pulp brought to a certain temperature in order to fulfill USDA quarantine requirements for fruits entering the U.S.
Several cracks with water in some of the bowls at Ogden Park Skatepark. (Photo: Matt Born/StarNews) Dozens show up to test out the new skate park in Ogden. (Photo: Helen Holt/WWAY) OGDEN, NC (StarNews) — When the Tony Hawk Foundation gave New Hanover County a $25,000 grant to help build a concrete skate park at Ogden Park, it came with a tease that the superstar skateboarder would hold an event at the completed park in summer 2017.But the “Get Rad for Ray” event, an annual celebration in honor of Hawk’s late friend and Wilmington native Ray Underhill, never happened. This may be why.- Advertisement – The StarNews reports that in recent weeks water from underneath the structure has begun to seep in through cracks in sections of the park, which opened last spring.RELATED: Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk visits Port City, shreds Ogden Skatepark“We have never seen anything like this before,” said Tara Duckworth, director of New Hanover County Parks and Gardens.Related Article: Market Street lane closures planned through 2022Click here to read more from StarNews Online.
Each night will host a Kwanzaa Market with small businesses selling their products which, is the core principle of day 4– cooperative economics or UJAMAA.“We’ll teach about self determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith because we know that in order to make a vibrant community that we have to have those principles,” said Museum Foundation Founder Islah Speller.On New Year’s Eve, the celebration will include a fashion show starting at 6 PM. All are invited to participate and showcase their culture.Related Article: Wilmington business drops appeal against treatment center 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –December 26th marks the first day of Kwanzaa which is a celebration that honors African heritage. Each night of the seven day ceremony recognizes a core principle. Wednesday is UMOJA which is unity in Swahili.The Burnett-Eaton Museum Foundation is celebrating the first day of the 13 year community tradition at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Wilmington. It ends on January 1st.- Advertisement –
Fog this morning caused a three-hour delay in the movement of the neo-Panamax crane, which arrived on a 776-foot ship.“The arrival of the third neo-Panamax crane is a continuation of a massive infrastructure improvements plan NC Ports has in place to enhance the terminal in Wilmington,” said Brian E. Clark, North Carolina Ports Chief Operating Officer. “The advancements we’re making with our cranes, container terminal and gate complex are paving the way for monumental growth at the Port of Wilmington and allowing us to efficiently accommodate our growing customer base.”The new crane is identical to the previous two neo-Panamax cranes North Carolina Ports received in March 2018.Related Article: BB&T, SunTrust merge to create nation’s 6th largest bankShare your video or photos of the crane with WWAY News. North Carolina Ports’ third neo-Panamax crane arrived to the Port of Wilmington on April 8, 2019. (Photo: NC Ports) CAPE FEAR RIVER, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina Ports’ third neo-Panamax crane arrived to the Port of Wilmington Monday.The delivery of the new crane had closed a stretch of the Cape Fear River from Wilmington southward most of the morning.- Advertisement –