Help – before it’s too late

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IT is no secret that the roots of recovery will come from small and medium-sized businesses. Thanks to their size they are more able to change direction and take advantage of new opportunities than bigger counterparts.

That is why it is worrying to read that these firms are in greater distress than bigger firms during the current financial squeeze. Now a member of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, Gareth Self, is calling for extra help for this sector.

There are already government-sponsored schemes to help them through the difficult times but more should be done, particularly for regions such as ours which have a large proportion of small-to-medium sized businesses.

This sector is so vital to our economy that any lifeline should be made readily available - before it is too late.

Two-tier rules for parents at school

WHILE many families struggle to pay peak time charges for holidays to make sure their children do not miss school, others have no regard whatsoever for the rules which say they are not allowed to take their youngsters out of class.

However, a significant number of parents not only deprive their children of the chance of a good education but do so with only lukewarm criticism from the education authorities.

After The Star revealed that more than 4,000 days of schooling were lost last year due to extended absences, many spent by pupils visiting family members abroad, the council will hold face to face meetings to warn parents of the consequences of these actions.

But those parents will be told they should not keep their children away from school for more than six weeks!

Why so long? We thought a fortnight in Benidorm was enough to earn most parents at least fine from the head.

Is this one rule for one group of parents and another for the rest?

A golden ‘nobody’

Sheffield man Mike Filler reckons he’s ‘nobody special’. Try telling that to family and friends who will be cheering him on as he becomes one of the first runners to cross the finishing line at the Olympic Stadium next month.

For Mike is one of the lucky competitors to be chosen for a five mile exhibition race to mark the contribution of the National Lottery to the Olympic extravaganza. And it offers those taking part the honour of being the first to make use of the spanking new running track. There may not be a medal in it for Mike and the other runners. But it will certainly be a golden moment.