Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Caravan tax: Budget U-turn after Yorkshire campaign?

George Osborne has abandoned his plan to impose VAT on the
Cornish pasty. Take-away foods including pasties, sausage rolls and
meat-and-potato pies, are to be free from the taxman's grasp after
a campaign of protest orchestrated by Greggs, the nation's largest
chain of high street bakers.

The Chancellor also signalled a retreat on plans to impose VAT on static caravans as the Treasury announced climbdowns, at a total cost of £70m, on two contentious Budget provisions.

The Treasury said VAT would still be imposed on some hot foods that are currently zero-rated, such as hot chickens wrapped in heat-retaining packaging sold in supermarket rotisseries.

But by narrowing the scope of his proposals, Mr Osborne has taken the heat out of an issue that was seriously damaging the Government.

In his March Budget speech, Mr Osborne said he was closing a loophole which meant that VAT is charged on some hot takeaway food, such as fish and chips, while most was zero-rated. He announced that VAT would be charged at 20 per cent on any food sold at above-ambient temperature, except for freshly baked bread.

Objectors claimed that the "pasty tax" proposal would force high street bakers out of business, and create a new anomaly, because some freshly baked food would be above ambient temperature on a cold day but not when the sun was shining.

Opponents included all six MPs with Cornish seats – three Tories, and three Liberal Democrats. George Eustice, Tory MP for Camborne and Redruth, said the climbdown would answer the protesters' objections. "They have accepted the argument – provided there is no attempt to keep pasties artificially hot," he said.

Mr Osborne had originally intended to impose VAT of 20 per cent on static caravans, but will now scale it back to 5 per cent and delay implementation from October to April next year.
The planned "caravan tax" had been opposed by several Tory MPs and the Government's majority shrank to just 25 in a Commons vote on the issue.

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, said: "It is great news for the manufacturing industry and also for the park and coastal communities."

David Gauke, the Treasury minister, said last night: "We've listened to the case that was put to us. On VAT our aim has always been to remove anomalies."

But the shadow Treasury minister, Chris Leslie, said: "I think they were forced to listen to the total bewilderment of the public who were completely astonished at these rather odd decisions. The other reason they have made this decision is the Commons is in recess, so there is no ability to challenge them in Parliament."

Monday, 28 May 2012

Olympic torch: Guide to the BBC's Olympic torch relay pages

The London 2012 Olympic torch relay sets off in May and the BBC will be following it throughout its journey.

The Olympic flame arrives at RNAS Culdrose, in Cornwall, on Friday 18 May and begins a 70-day relay round the UK the following day.

The BBC will have continuous video coverage, as well as providing comprehensive route and local information, so you can catch the relay when it comes near you.

Here are some frequently asked questions, so you can get the best out of our online experience.

How can I watch the torch relay online?
The Olympic torch relay begins its 8,000-mile journey around the UK on 19 May and reaches the Olympic Stadium in London on 27 July.

When the relay gets under way, a video player will appear at the top of the page for the current day. So, for example, if you are on 19 May page, you will see video as-it-happens on 19 May, and so on.
If you navigate to a future day i.e. a day that hasn't happened yet, video will not be available.

Most torch relay days run for 12-14 hours and comprise a morning and afternoon session. By clicking the Play icon on the player, you should see the current live session.

Both UK audiences and users outside the UK should be able to watch the continuous video stream on the current day.

We have introduced a delay of up to two minutes on our video to help deliver a smoother picture for you to watch. This is why we're not referring to our video as "continuous" rather than "live".

Why can't I see the video stream on my device?
Currently, continuous video is only accessible to users on desktop and laptop computers and on hand-held devices running the Android operating system. The latter is available in the UK only.
However, you will be able to see plenty of other online content for each day, including day schedules, weather and day information.

We aim to implement video coverage for iPhone (iOS) at some point during the relay.

London 2012 Olympic torch relay

Torch relay graphic
Search maps, check street routes and join in 70 days of live coverage in video, stories and pictures
How can I find out when the torch relay comes near me?
If you are using a desktop computer or laptop, there are two ways to find the nearest torch route to you.
The first way is to use the "Find the torch near you" box on the right of the page. Just enter your town or postcode and results will show the five closest routes to the location you entered. By clicking on any of these search results, you'll be taken to the page showing the route for that day.

The second way to find the nearest route is to click on the "All routes" tab above the map. This will show you a map of the UK with all the routes for the 70 days. Click on one of the routes to go through to that page.

If you're on a mobile device, enter your town or postcode in the "Find the torch near you" box and the five closest routes to the location you entered will appear in the search results. By clicking on any of these search results, you'll be taken to the page showing the route for that day.
Or click on the "Full 70 days schedule" label and select the route nearest to you.

How can I find out where the torch relay will be on a certain day?
As well as location, you can search for relay routes by date.

If you are using a desktop computer or laptop, just use the horizontal navigation bar near the top of the page. Use the arrows on the left and right to scroll through the dates and click to go through to the relevant page.

The map should show you which towns and stops are on that day's route, and the estimated arrival times for each stop can be seen below the map.

If you are on a mobile device, the calendar label at the top of the page and select to go through to the relevant page.

How can I find out whether the torch relay goes down my street or past my home?
Once you have selected a day route, you can check our "Street by street" information.
If you are using a desktop computer or laptop, just click on the "Street by street" tab above the map to see a detailed breakdown of road names and arrival times for that day's route.
If you are using a mobile, just click on the "Street by street" label to see a detailed breakdown of road names and arrival times for that day's route.

How do I find out what time the torch relay will visit my town, city or street?
See the answers to the two questions above. Find out whether the torch comes to your town, city or street by using the "Find the torch near you" function. If it does come to your city, town or street, you can check the estimated arrival times and "Street by street" information on that day's route.

On the map, the dotted lines between stops are straight and don't follow road contours. Why?
The dotted lines on the map are an approximate route to give you an idea of the general order of stops on the route and the direction of travel. The actual relay route will follow road contours.

Why is the big red flashing torch location tracker nowhere near the dotted route line?
As mentioned in the previous answer, the dotted line simply shows a general order of stops on the route. The red flashing torch location tracker will give the closest exact location we can ascertain at any given time.

Therefore, the red flashing tracker may appear off-course by deviating from the dotted line, but is in fact the best indication of where the torch currently is.
The red locator only appears on 'live' days, not past or future day routes.

I want to go to see the torch relay live, how can I check weather and travel information?
Local weather information is available for up to three days ahead of the current day. So if it was the morning of the 19 May, you should be able to see local weather information for all the relay stops until 22 May.

If you are on a desktop computer or laptop, you should be able to see local maximum/minimum temperatures and weather forecasts by hovering over route stops on the map. You can also click on the weather icon to go through to more detailed weather information on the BBC Weather site.
If you are on a mobile phone, just open the day schedule to see local maximum/minimum temperatures and weather forecasts next to each stop.

Local traffic/travel information, including planned road closures, is available on the current live day.

Why does weather information appear on some days and not on others?
As mentioned in the previous answer, weather information is only available for three days into the future.

If you are looking at a past day, for example the current day is 27 May and you are looking at the route for 25 May, then no weather information will be available.

If you are looking at a future day route, more than three days ahead of the current day, then no weather information will be available.

How do I know about any local activities on a particular torch relay day?
When the torch relay starts, there will be a 'Things to do' module on the site. This will display local activities from free test sport events to cultural events taking place in the region where the torch is going. Clicking on any of these activities will take you to the Things to do site and give you more information about that event.

What is the torch relay?
You can find out more about the torch relay and how it started at this "What is the torch relay?" guide.

How do I get involved?
When the torch relay begins, we will be showing live text commentary alongside the video. You will have the opportunity to text message, tweet or send a comment via Facebook.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Pakefield Sales Videos

Caravans for Sale at Pakefield Caravan Park
Caravan Specification Price
2012 Victory Sandford 35x12 2 Bed £33,995
2009 ABI Ashcroft 39x12 2 Bed £32,995
2009 Carnaby Henley 35x12 2 Bed £20,995
2006 ABI Colorado 32x12 2 Bed D/G - includes a veranda £15,295
2006 Atlas Ruby 36x12 2 Bed D/G - Wheelchair Friendly £15,995
2003 Atlas Moonstone 35x12 3 Bed Partial Sea View £12,495
2003 Atlas Moonstone 35x12 2 Bed £11,995
2007 Cosalt Studio 34 x 12 - 2 Bed D/G & C/H £28,995
2007 Swift Moselle 38 x 12 - 2 Bed D/G & C/H £25,995
The decision to purchase a static caravan can be a big 'lifestyle' investment for any family and shouldn't be taken without guidance and advice. The park prides itself on the friendly, non pressurised way it helps new owners find the caravan of their dreams, with great time and effort taken to ensuring that their holiday needs are met. Because Pakefield Caravan Park sells static caravans and operates the park on which those caravans are situated, we have on-going relationships with all our owners, many of whom we see on a regular basis throughout the season. So, when buying your caravan holiday home from us please be assured that your continuing satisfaction in your holiday home is paramount to us. With excellent and long standing relationships with all caravan manufacturers, the park is able to offer a premium service to customers based on a:
    • wide range of Static Caravans available for Sale at competitive prices
    • Subject to availability
    • price inclusive of transport, siting, connections, steps,
      Free Sat TV aerial, Free WiFi
    • 9 month holiday season and;
    • An experienced Sales Team who offer a personal,
      friendly service including after sales support
+ Caravans cannot be used for residential purposes on the park.

Victory Sandford | £33,995

Find more photos like this on Coastdale Networking

ABI Ashcroft | £32,995

Cosalt Studio | £28,995

Atlas Ruby | £15,995
Surprisingly affordable, luxurious and contemporary, brand new and nearly new holiday homes are available for immediate purchase. Owning a holiday home provides the freedom and flexibility to enjoy leisure time to the full. We have an excellent working relationship with all the major manufacturers, which enables us to find the perfect new holiday home to meet your personal needs. We can also provide you with an up to date list of all the new and used holiday homes available on the park for immediate ownership.

Thousands to head for the coast as dreary May turns Mediterranean

With red, white and blue bunting already in place in towns and villages across Britain, virtually all of the country will have clear blue skies and unseasonably high temperatures today and tomorrow, from northern Scotland to southern England.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, with the mercury hitting 28.5C (83.1F) at Hurn near Bournemouth, nearly double the May average temperature for England of 15C, and hotter than Barcelona, Athens and Casablanca.

Although top temperatures today may be fractionally lower, at about 25/26C, roads to the coast will be packed and beaches will be crammed as millions of people go in search of the sun in the first weekend that feels like summer. In some parts of the country, train companies are gearing up for an increase in passengers of up to 25 per cent.

The AA is expecting a major increase in traffic on routes to the coast and is putting on more breakdown patrols. For every degree the temperature rises above 23C breakdown calls rise by 2 per cent, the AA says.

In its latest briefing on the drought, which is still affecting much of south-east and eastern England, the Environment Agency said this week had been the driest since the end of March. Just 2mm (0.08 inches) of rain or less fell in south-east England, while 9mm was recorded in the north-east and north-west. River flows have decreased from high levels seen during weeks of rain and are now normal for the time of year, while the warm, sunny weather following the rain has prompted lots of plant growth, which means soils are drier than normal.

Bookmakers are experiencing a surge in weather-related bets – William Hill has seen a 500 per cent increase, with the most popular bet being for temperatures to top 100F in 2012, at 8/1. And retailers are expecting a sales boom in all the outdoor goods they stocked up on in March and were stuck with through the subsequent cold and wet – from new season fashion, beachwear and sportswear to garden equipment and barbecues. Sales of outdoor food and drink, from burgers and sausages to sparkling wine, are also set to explode.

It feels like the perfect rehearsal for the four-day national party marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at the end of next week, and while the chances of the ideal weather repeating itself are not guaranteed, the intermediate-range forecast is promising, with warmth and sunshine likely to return after a mid-week blip of some cloud and rain.

This weekend, however, will be an unblemished golden one, the climax of an extraordinary fourth week of May which has seen a complete weather turnaround from the grey chill of the first three. An area of high pressure to the north and east of Britain has brought an enormous stream of warm air in from the Continent.

The burst of warmth has done wonders for wildlife, most notably bringing basking sharks, the world's second largest fish (which are harmless to humans), close inshore on western coasts, especially in Cornwall and the Isle of Man.

In the west, the sharks' arrival is increasingly seen as a true mark of the start of summer (and it supports a nascent shark-watching industry). "We've had 28 sightings in the last week," said Eleanor Stone, marine officer of the Manx Wildlife Trust. "People are talking about it, saying the basking sharks are here, so summer's arrived."

Near Land's End, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust will be running a session today for volunteers for its 2012 basking shark observation project and the trust already has stunning photos of this year's sightings on its website.