Please take on this challenge

WE know times are tough, not least for the region's business community.

But we also know that our business leaders have hearts as big as Fargate when it comes to helping those who most need assistance.

And that is why we are sure there will be an overwhelming response to our campaign to support the Macmillan Cancer Support charity during its centenary year.

The charity, which has touched thousands of hearts in our region since it was first introduced here, aims to recruit 100 businesses from our area to help them raise a total of 100,000 during this special year.

They will be invited to sign up to the Star-backed Business Challenge and simply get stuck into raising money for this very important charity.

And, despite popular opinion, Macmillan's work is more than providing those all-important nurses at the closing stages of people's illness.

Macmillan is behind a massive range of support services from helping cancer patients get the benefits they need to spreading the word about prevention of this terrible disease.

Over the coming months, as we track the progress of this appeal, we will also be focusing on the varied work of Macmillan Cancer Support.

It is a true privilege to be working with this particular charity and we are confident that our Star Business Challenge will be a popular way for businesses and organisations to also show their admiration for this incredible organisation, no matter how tough times become.

We must keep up flood prevention

THE Government should lose no time in sorting out the looming crisis for thousands of families, many of them in our area, who face a bleak future after the insurance industry announced it will not renew an agreement to maintain flood cover as standard in insurance policies.

The Association of British Insurers' decision to ditch the agreement, reached after the devastating 2007 floods, is a kick in the teeth for homeowners and smacks of an industry which has lost any sense of fair play to the customers who have sustained it for years.

And there is suspicion that this is a tactic to force the Government to take action over the threat of further flooding, leaving homeowners in the middle of a high-powered game of bluff.

But if this is all about persuading the Government to review its position over flood defences - it has cut the budget massively - then some tough decisions must be made.

We know in this area to our cost how devastating it is for families and businesses to suffer the consequences of floods. Nobody should face that prospect without the protection of insurance.

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