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Greater Manchester firm adopts four-day working week so employees can ‘focus on themselves’

After seeing major success from a 2019 trial, the company has decided to make shorter hours a permanent fixture

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Belmont Packaging / Facebook

A Greater Manchester-based company has adopted a four-day working week in a bid to give its employees more time to ‘focus on themselves’.

Belmont Packaging and its e-commerce sister business, Boxed-Up, both based in Wigan, initially trialled the four-day week in its manufacturing departments before the pandemic in late 2019 with the aim of ‘giving staff more time to focus on themselves, their mental health and their loved ones’ without any pay cut.

And, after the trial proved to be a major success, the company has announced that it will now be making the shorter hours a permanent fixture for its thirty-one staff members this coming week onwards, Business Live reported.

Belmont Packaging / Facebook

Commercial manager Gareth Rollo said on the new working hours: “As well as valuing our customers, business trade partners and suppliers we also value our biggest assets, the employees whose hard work, and the commitment and dedication that makes our business the success it is.

“In order to further recognise this, and to lead the way in employee health and wellbeing, we are delighted to announce an industry-leading change to ways of working which is intended to give our employees a better work-life balance while allowing us to continue giving our customers the first-class products and service they are accustomed to.”

This news comes just weeks after Scotland announced it would be trialling a four-day working week across a number of its sectors. 

IPPR Scotland (the Institute for Public Policy Research) said the reduced hours would be handed to workers as annual leave entitlement, as more public holidays, or as parental leave for those who qualify.

The IPPR suggested a Low Hours Commission to help drive this forward, and a Scottish trial across sectors with the aim to see how this works in non-office employment, on lower pay, and among those with condensed or part-time hours.

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon had previously promised to provide funding for Scottish companies to offer staff a four-day working week, as per The Independent.

She said: “Before the pandemic struck, many people were already worried about work-life balance. We want to do more to support people to achieve a better balance and help businesses employ as many people as possible.

“As part of that, we will establish a £10m fund to support willing companies to explore and pilot the benefits of a four-day working week.”

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Sir David Amess MP has died after stabbing incident, police say

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Sir David Amess / Twitter & Richard Townshend

A Conservative MP has died after being stabbed multiple times in his constituency.

Sir David Amess was attacked during an incident at his constituency surgery, Sky News reported earlier this afternoon.

According to police, he was treated by emergency services but died at the scene.

Sir David represents Southend West in Essex, and was reportedly attacked at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

According to Sky News, a man walked into his constituency surgery and stabbed the MP multiple times.

He received treatment at the scene for his injuries, with emergency services at the scene.

The road surrounding the location has been closed off while the incident is dealt with. 

Police said in a statement: “A man has been arrested on suspicion murder after a man was stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today (Friday 15 October).

“We attended and found a man injured.

“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene.

“A 25 year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.

“He is currently in custody.

“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”

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Conservative MP Sir David Amess stabbed multiple times in ‘major incident’

JUST IN…

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Richard Townshend

According to reports this afternoon, a Conservative MP has been stabbed multiple times in his constituency.

Sir David Amess was attacked during an incident at his constituency surgery, Sky News reports.

Sir David represents Southend West in Essex, and was reportedly attacked at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

According to Sky News, a man walked into his constituency surgery and stabbed the MP multiple times.

The latest updates suggest he has been receiving treatment at the scene for his injuries, and police are reportedly at the scene.

The road surrounding the location has been closed off while the incident is dealt with.

Essex Police have confirmed a man has now been arrested. 

They wrote on Twitter: “A man’s been arrested following an incident in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We were called to reports of a stabbing in Eastwood Rd North shortly after 12.05pm.

“A man was arrested shortly after & we’re not looking for anyone else.

“We’ll bring you more info when we have it.”

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The Manchester Christmas Markets is moving to Piccadilly Gardens this year

Big changes for the Christmas Markets this year…

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Manchester City Council & David Dixon / Geograph

Manchester’s beloved Christmas Markets are making a grand return to the city this year, but its main hub will be found in a different location.

While the heart of the markets is usually centered around Albert Square, ongoing renovations to the Town Hall have forced them to move to Piccadilly Gardens, the council have confirmed today.

The area will be transformed into the ‘Winter Gardens’, with all the usual yuletide bars, market stalls and food huts.

Plans for the Winter Gardens also include a one-way system and separate entrances and exits, as well as a strict limit on visitors to limit the spread of Covid-19.

David Dixon / Geograph

They are also adding a fully accessible toilet to make the Winter Garden as inclusive as possible.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome back our world-famous Christmas Markets and the addition of the Winter Gardens for the very first time.

“Manchester has been the capital of Christmas for twenty-two years since the very first Christmas Market arrived in the UK in 1999 and we know it was a huge disappointment that we had to scale back our celebrations last year.

“We’re making up for lost time this year and I can’t wait to see the transformation in the city centre into the festive wonderland we know and love.”

@mcrchristmasmarkets / Instagram

Last year, in what would have been the markets’ twenty-first birthday, the festivities were cancelled as a result of the pandemic, much to the dismay of Mancunians all across the region.

At the time, Councillor Karney said that even the proposed smaller markets didn’t meet public health approval, adding that the council ‘could never take any risks’ with people’s wellbeing.

He said: “We’ve cancelled everything. It’s not met our commercial and public health tests, so the three markets in those locations have been cancelled, and won’t take place. It was a million miles from the traditional Christmas Markets, which obviously people would have been very anxious about.”

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