Archives for February 2009

Are Premium Bonds worth it?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 12:07 UK time, Thursday, 26 February 2009

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With the base rate of interest at 1 per cent, now is not a good time for savers. So Dom Littlewood looked at whether Premium Bonds are a better bet for stashing your cash.


The facts:
* Premium Bonds are a savings account you can put money in (and take it out when you want), but the interest paid is decided by a monthly prize draw, where you can win between £50 and £1 million tax-free
* Premium bonds are protected by the government so you will always get the original money you put in back, but you are taking a gamble with the amount of interest you can earn
* The highest interest you can earn is the million pound jackpot but the odds of earning this is 19 and a half billion to one. Your chance of winning any prize is 36 thousand to one.
* The average interest on access savings account from the high street banks is around 0.2 percent. But with average luck, premium bond holders are likely to get winnings equivalent to 1.8 per cent - the first time ever that the rate of return on premium bonds is above the Bank of England base rate.


Unclaimed prizes:
National Savings & Investment announced on February 18 that it was seeking as many as 550,000 people who have failed to claim £30 million worth of Premium Bond prizes. You can check for an unclaimed prize via the NS&I website or by phoning 0845 964 5000.

 

More information:
BBC Inside Out: Facts on Bonds


BBC News: Premium Bonds prizes held steady


BBC News: £30m of unclaimed Premium Bonds


Advice from MoneySavingExpert.com


So are Premium Bonds worth investing in? Would you recommend them? Add your comment.

 

Check out Dom's reports on package holidays, second hand cars and bank charges.

Are package holidays the cheapest option?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 16:17 UK time, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

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As the pound plummets, Dom Littlewood discovered why rejecting brochures and going it alone may no longer be the most cost effective way of booking your holiday.


To prove this, Dom compared two holidays to two popular destinations - Florida and Majorca - and discovered that on both occasions the brochure price beats the DIY price. But the benefits don't stop there.


Package holidays - the advantages:
* Perhaps the biggest advantage of booking a package holiday is the protection you receive from companies involved going bust.Holiday brochures
* Under the ATOL scheme (Air Travel Operator's License), you are protected from losing your money or being stranded abroad. It does this by carrying out checks on the tour operators and travel organisers it licenses, and requiring them to take part in a financial guarantee scheme managed which provides the funds to protect customers should a firm fail
* A package doesn't have to be an all singing all dancing all in holiday - it can just be a flight and a hotel booked together on your behalf by the tour operator (ATOL does not cover flight only bookings).
* Make sure when booking to confirm with the tour operator that your holiday will be covered by ATOL, and that they give you an ATOL receipt.
* You can double check that your tour operator is ATOL covered by looking at the Civil Aviation Authority's website.


There's more information from the CAA here.


Secret week of summer holidays:
According to the tour operators, the 2009 high season ends on August 29 - the last week of the summer holidays.


Of the 175 local education authorities (LEAs) in England and Wales, about 80% have scheduled the autumn term to start on Thursday September 3, according to the department for children, schools and families.


However, a significant number of schools within each authority have scheduled teacher training, or 'inset' days, for September 3 and 4, meaning that most children won't actually start school until Monday September 7.


By exploiting this bureaucratic anomaly, canny families who gain that extra, secret week of the summer holidays.

 

What do you think? Are there still package holiday bargains to be had out there? Or would you still prefer to go your own way? Add your comments.

Is our manufacturing industry worth saving?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 16:15 UK time, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

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ManufacturingHave your say.

 

Over the past few months Britain's industrial output has been falling at a rapid rate. But, as Lucy Siegle discovered, British manufacturing was in decline long before the current recession.


In December official figures showed that manufacturing output declined at its fastest rate since 1981, underscoring the fragile state of the UK economy. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it fell 10.2 per cent from a year earlier as recession hit the sector.


For the final three months of 2008 output fell 5.1 per cent, the biggest quarterly fall since 1974.


The real worry is that the various industrial surveys suggest that things are set to get even worse over the coming months, with no signs at all that the drop in the exchange rate is yet boosting manufacturers' export order books.


This has lead to calls for the government to bail out slumping manufacturing companies in the same way as the US government did for car maker GM who received a $6 billion bail out package last year.


If that wasn't bad enough, engineering entrepreneur James Dyson believes there are not enough people leaving school and university with engineering qualifications which is leading to a national skills shortage. And CBI officials have stated that the government needs to do more to encourage children to seek out jobs in engineering.


But what do you think? Is the outlook for Britain's manufacturing industry really that gloomy? And should the government now step in? Have your say.

Can you protect yourself against arson?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 14:22 UK time, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

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Anita Rani

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With the infernos in Australia still hitting headlines and the number of arson attacks rising in the UK, Anita Rani met those dealing with the human cost of deliberately started fires.


Anita spoke to psychologist Dr Louise Almond, who explained the reasons why people commit arson. They range from financial gain, expressing anger and getting attention, to just being plain malicious.


And Mike Kirby, from the Merseyside Incident Investigation Team, who explained how the number of attacks had increased in recent years, particularly on empty buildings.


But is there anything you can personally do to protect our homes and families from arsonists?

 

The advice from the Fire & Rescue Services is as follows:

* Preventing arson in the home is closely linked with preventing intruders and stopping people gaining access to the property.
* A householder should make sure all windows and doors are locked at night and when the house is empty. If there have been arson attacks in the local area, you might want to consider installing an arson-proof letterbox.
* Minimise the amount of combustible material that is left in and around buildings.
* Ensure the property is secure with adequate locks on doors and windows and the provision of security lighting.
* Carry out a fire risk assessment, fit smoke alarms and plan an effective escape route.
* In terms of arson attacks on vehicles, park your car or van in a well lit place, fit an anti-theft device and don't leave valuables on show.


There's more information on arson prevention from the Fire & Rescue Services here.

 

Add your comments.

Should criminals work in the community?

Paddy O'Connell | 17:33 UK time, Monday, 23 February 2009

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co_paddy_203x152.jpgIt's my first One Show blog, so I'd just like to introduce myself and say hello. I'm told I can expect a warm welcome.


So let's get down to business....


It's a way of digging yourself out of prison, and it's totally legal. Community Service has had a make-over and it's now called Community Payback, as convicted criminals are put to work on community projects decided on by a panel of local citizens.


We've got one of the highest prison populations in the west. And the question remains of what to do with those thousands of prisoners.


Community service orders have existed for years, used as an alternative to prison or a fine when dealing with some crimes. It's not a choice for the defendant, it's a choice for the court, and it's never an alternative at all in crimes that are considered more serious.


The high visibility vests worn by offenders taking part in the Community Payback pilot scheme I visited in Ipswich go one step further. The idea is to show people that this work is being done by people who may have committed their crimes in the area. But in my report I found that groups like Liberty are worried that this puts the offenders at risk of attack.


Some of the men I met digging those steps in their orange bibs had experience in construction. I could easily judge their work when I was there (and to me the steps looked strong, well built and fitted well into their environment) but you can't judge so easily where you stand on the Community Payback scheme itself.

 

There's more information on Community Payback here.

 

Thanks for looking at my first One Show blog, you can bet I'll return the favour by reading your comments. And don't forget, if you're sitting on a tale of life in the UK that you want the rest of the country to know about, you can tell us here.


So, it's over to you. Should it be left to the community to decide how people who committed crimes against them pay back that debt? Would you attend a council meeting and suggest projects in your area? Or should it be left to professionals in the justice system to decide?


What do you think of Community Payback? If you're fed up with crime where you live, do you think this scheme would help solve the problem? Share your views.

Depression - why do women suffer in silence?

Dr Sarah Jarvis | 17:19 UK time, Friday, 20 February 2009

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Dr Sarah JarvisThe word 'depression' is hopelessly overused these days. I often hear people talking about being depressed when their football team loses. What they mean is that they're a bit cheesed off. If they really had depression, sadly, the last thing they would want to do is admit to it in public.


In the 19 years I've been a GP, I've seen a huge rise in the number of people suffering 'real' depression - the kind that at best affects your life and at worst makes it impossible to function. As we saw in Ruby Wax's film (watch it here), women suffer more commonly than men, and they seem to have special problems in their forties and fifties.


It's hard to pinpoint why. Women are more likely to be juggling a family and career than they were before, and at the same time the media is full of stories about 'superwomen' who juggle galas, high-powered office meetings and motherhood with ease. It's hardly surprising that we are unrealistic about what we expect of ourselves. We're also meant to breeze through the menopause - yet the hormone changes can make you anxious and weepy. There may also be other major changes in your life at this time - kids moving out of home, problems talking to your husband.


Depression is a vicious illness. One of the most common symptoms is a feeling of hopelessness. The fact that employers are often unsympathetic to mental health problems makes admitting to it even harder. And if that attitude prevails, I can see more and more women battling on in silence until they reach crisis point.


So if you feel like you can't cope, please make an appointment with your GP. We will understand what you're going through, and nobody will tell you to pull yourself together. There is more help in the form of counselling than ever before, and even if getting the right counselling can still be a lottery, it has to be better than suffering in silence.


See also:
Dr Sarah Jarvis' blog on the depression taboo


More from Ruby Wax on BBC Headroom


NHS advice on depression


What do you think? Why do so many women brush the condition under the carpet? And are mental health problems more widespread than we'd like to think? Add your comments.

How do you keep burglars at bay?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 14:07 UK time, Thursday, 19 February 2009

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It's every householder's nightmare. And, as Gyles Brandreth discovered, with burglaries on the rise - up by 4 per cent last year - it is a nightmare that's fast becoming a reality for more and more people.


Gyles met Amanda Holland, who last year was the victim of a burglar who took many precious items, to investigate the steps she could have taken to prevent the thefts from happening.


Reformed thief and now Reverend Richard Taylor was on hand to give her tips on how to improve the security of her home.


Richard's tips
* Low hedges at the front of the house create a physical barrier to get over, plus the mental barrier of nothing obscuring the house from the street.
* Other things can will dissuade thieves from targeting your home include a dog and a gravel drive, as burglars won't like the noise walking over it will create.
* If you are away from home for long periods who can help security by using timer switches to turn lights on, making sure papers and milk doesn't pile up and by keep curtains or blinds shut.
* A determined burglar will get in if he wants to, so think about a safe for your most important possession.s
* Don't leave bank/credit card statements lying around, as the burglar will instantly have access to thousands of pounds.
* Don't leave keys in the open or in a draw, if you do you might as well have left everything unlocked anyway.
* You should never confront a burglar, as many are breaking in to feed a drug habit and that makes their behaviour unpredictable.


More information:
The Home Office Let's Keep Crime Down campaign


Home Office advice on securing your home


Victim Support


What do think? Is it really possible to make your home burglar-proof? And what steps have to taken to keep your home secure? Add your comments.

Second hand cars - buying tips

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 13:48 UK time, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

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With consumers these days more careful about spending their hard-earned money, the market for brand new cars has been hit particularly hard.


Dom Littlewood looked at the implications for the second hard car industry, dispelling some current fears over running larger cars and showing that there are still some bargains to be had out there.


Dom discovered the difference in depreciation between two 2006 cars of the exact same make and model, only with different engines sizes. In today's second hand market the car with the smaller engine was worth around £225 more than its more powerful cousin.


This is due to something that has been termed the 'fear factor' among buyers. Smaller cars are in big demand because the perception is that they hold on to their value and are kinder to the environment.


However, the recent petrol price drop means that it is actually cheaper to run a big car than this time a year ago. So if you want to bag a relative bargain it may be better to buy big.


Things to remember when buying second hand:
* It is always advisable to buy a second hand car from a reputable dealer.
* If motor vehicles are not your specialist area, take a friend along, or even a mechanic.
* There are currently some great deals to be had on purchasing new cars. Many models and dealers will take offers on top of large discounted offers.
* The important thing to remember is, do not be afraid to ask.


More information:

Glass's car valuation guide


LearnMoney - More tips for buying a second hand car


Which? - Cars and motoring


The AA's car buyer's guide

 

Over to you. What do you think are the most important things to look out for when buying a used car? Add your comments.

Do we need to be more positive?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 12:30 UK time, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

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We asked One Show viewers if there was a major gripe that they wanted to get off their chests, for them to have their say in our One Minute strand.


John Sherry from Coventry got in touch with us because he's tired of negative attitudes. He believes people can be happier if they think more positively. You can watch his One Minute film above.


But what do you think? Should we have a more positive outlook on life? Or is it healthier, and more realistic, to take a more cynical view of the world? Add your comments.

Caravans - love them or loathe them?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 12:24 UK time, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

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With the recession biting, more and more Britons are opting to holiday on home soil this year. And Christine Walken discovered how the change in habits is giving a boost to the caravanning industry.


According to The Caravan Club, so far their bookings for 2009 are up by 40 per cent compared to figures this time last year.


For many struggling in the current financial climate, caravans have become a more viable option when it comes to booking their holidays. And it's a boom industry, as the numbers of Brits caravanning has risen steadily for the last six years.


More information:
The Caravan Club


National Boat, Caravan and Outdoor Show


But what do you think? Are you worried about the extra caravans clogging up our already over-stretched highways? Or can you think of nothing better than hitting the open road in your home away from home come holiday time? Add your comments.

 

Also: Send us pictures of you with your caravans here.

Are our job centres working?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 15:19 UK time, Monday, 16 February 2009

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Have your say.

 

With unemployment hovering around the 2 million mark, and commentators predicting worse things to come, the nation's job centres are trying hard to cope with the influx of people needing work.


But, as the One Show's Anita Rani discovered, there's a growing section of job-seekers who are far from most people's perceptions of the long-term unemployed. The fastest growing sector of people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance are from what many think of as typically middle class professions, and for many it is the first time in their lives that they've visited a job centre.


Anita met Phil Lowthian, district manager of Jobcentre Plus, the publicly funded employment service, and asked him what they are doing to improve the system and help companies who want white collar workers.


She also met an ex director of operations for an IT firm who feels totally let down by the system and thinks his only route back to work is via costly recruitment agencies.


Jobcentre Plus has advice on what to do if you find yourself umemployed here. There's also a BBC News guide on how to cope with unemployment.


More information:
BBC News: Unemployment at 12-year high


BBC News: UK jobs tracker


Government guide to Job Seeker's Allowance


Search for jobs and training


But what do you think? Are job centres doing enough for specialists and professionals? And what lengths would you be prepared to go to find work? Have your say?

Will you reclaim your bank charges?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 12:46 UK time, Friday, 13 February 2009

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Dom Littlewood looked at the current state of play regarding bank customers reclaiming their overdraft charges.


In 2007, customers complaining about unauthorised overdraft charges being unfair were often given goodwill settlements by the banks in order to stop cases going to court.


The Office of Fair Trading brought a test case against the banks in July 2007 to get a legal ruling over the fairness of unauthorised overdraft charges (this includes unpaid direct debits and cheques).


So far, all that has happened is that the High Court decided that it was within the OFT's rights to consider the fairness of bank charges under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, and the banks then appealed that ruling.


The appeal finished in November 2008. The OFT expects the result of the appeal imminently, but there is not a definite date.


If the ruling goes against the banks again, they still have the right to appeal to the Law Lords, and after that, the European courts - so it could rumble on for years without claims being dealt with.


Can you still claim?
All claims have been put on hold until the court cases and investigation are finished. It is estimated that there are currently 750,000 claims on hold, with £1 billion at stake.


But Dom believes it is still worth writing a letter to your bank starting the reclaiming process, as you'll be in the queue, the banks will be obliged to keep you updated on how the court proceedings are going, and it may protect you from missing out if for any reason payouts start and then stop again before they get to your claim.


You can download a template of the letter here. And there's also more from the BBC site on how to claim back penalty charges here. See also a BBC News Q&A on the bank charges test case


For more information on the test cases see:
BBC News: Frozen overdraft claims revealed


Office of Fair Trading site


Money Made Clear


Financial Ombudsman


Financial Services Authority

Recession hit shops - more information

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 12:51 UK time, Thursday, 12 February 2009

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These are tough times for traders, with many shops and businesses falling victim to the current economic crisis and going into administration. But what about their customers?


If you've paid for goods it can be worrying to see shops going under before they've been delivered. So Lucy Siegle shopped around to get some good advice for customers who've been affected.


When a shop is put into administration it is usually an independent firm who decides the best way to deal with the situation. More often than not this means selling off the assets while they continue trading. This sell-off creates a pot of money to be distributed among the creditors who are owed money.


Sadly, if you have put in an order for a product and paid for it, you will be quite far down the pecking order when it comes to getting your money back, behind, for example, the tax man and staff.


Lucy's tips:
* If you are buying something over £100 use a credit card so you're covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974. If a store goes into administration after you've placed an order, you can claim your money back from the card company (up £30,000).
* The credit company has to chase the administrators for cash.
* The same protection applies to hire purchase and store cards, which are also credit agreements.
* Cash and cheques are not credit, so you do not get the same protection if the shop goes under.

 
And what happens if the goods bought are faulty - can you get a refund? Possibly not, says Michelle Shambrook, deputy operations manager at the Office of Fair Trading. "You will still have rights as a customer, but if the company is in administration and you go into a store to try and return something, the store staff will not be able to help you," she says.

 

"The shop will only be open to sell off existing stock, so if you want your money back you will have to register your claim and the faulty item with the administrator - their role is to ensure that as many consumers as possible get their money back, but in a worse-case scenario sometimes there is simply no money to settle any claims and you may not get any money back."

 

For more information see:
Consumer Direct


Trading Standards Institute


Citizens Advice Bureau

 

BBC's Watchdog on the MFI collapse

Social networking - more information

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 14:03 UK time, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

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With the buzz currently surrounding the online phenomenon that is Twitter, tech head Gyles Brandreth broke out his laptop to delve into the fast-moving world of social networking.


Just as we start getting to grips with online communities like MySpace and Facebook, and video sharing groups such as Flickr, YouTube and Bebo, comes another internet fad.


Yes, online messaging service Twitter is the latest in long line of crazes to hit the web. Twitter users - known as Tweeters - can update those interested of their movements throughout the day in reports of up to 140 characters via their computers or mobile phones.


Jonathan Ross made the service famous during his recent suspension, and now a host of other well-known names - aka the Twitterati - have started using the site. These include Stephen Fry, Boris Johnson - under the user name MayorofLondon - Jamie Oliver (Jamie_Oliver), Demi Moore (mrskutcher), John Cleese and even US President Barack Obama. But is it just a flash in the pan?


More information:
BBC News: The evolution of social networking


BBC News: Why celebs love Twittering


BBC News: Facebook's fifth birthday


Flickr and Twitter on BBC Sport


BBC YouTube channel


BBC Three's Bebo channel


BBC News: How messages are sent into space

Should the House of Lords be scrapped?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 15:19 UK time, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

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In light of the recent 'Lords-for-hire' allegations and continued calls for its reform, former Conservative MP and regular One Show correspondent Gyles Brandreth delves into the inner workings of the House of Lords.


main_lords.jpgEffectively the descendent of the Parliament of England created by the Treaty of Union in 1706, today the House of Lords is the second house - or upper chamber - of UK parliament, after the House of Commons. As well as being involved in the law-making process, the Lords also examines the Government's work, debates current affairs and is the highest court of appeal in the land.


Members of the Lords - known as peers - are not elected by the public but chosen by the current Prime Minister and, sometimes, the Queen, under the advisement of the PM. They are made up of life peers, hereditary peers and senior bishops. But, as Gyles discovers, there is some new blood among the 700 members, including feminist Muslim Baroness Afshar and Baroness Gardner, an Australian ex dentist.


And it still really is a job for life. Only an act of Parliament, the crime of treason or death can remove them from the house. But, after it was claimed that four Labour peers agreed to accept financial inducements to help amend a bill, Justice Secretary Jack Straw is now considering tougher rules for the Lords, rules which, if implemented, would expel peers found guilty of serious misconduct.


More information:


BBC News: House of Lords explained


Official House of Lords site


What do you think? Is the House of Lords an outmoded institution? Or does it have an important role to play in the democracy of 21st century Britain? Share your views.



Do we still need libraries?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 15:05 UK time, Monday, 9 February 2009

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Share your views.


With 145 libraries shutting in the UK in the last ten years alone and many more facing closure, Anita Rani asked whether we were approaching the final chapter in the story of these beloved public spaces.


 

Anita discovered what a lifeline to the community some local libraries are and what some see as the detrimental effect their closure would have on Britain's cultural landscape.


 

According to some studies, more people visit libraries in this country than football matches or the cinema. But with the actual numbers of books being borrowed in sharp decline and growing availability of lowcost paperbacks in the high street and online, are libraries becoming redundant in this multimedia age?


 

More information:
BBC News: Library lending lists

 

Public Lending Right

 

 

What do you think? Do you still use your local library? Would it matter if it disappeared from your town all together? And where do you stand on library etiquette? What's the longest you've kept a book past it's return date? Share your views.

Do squatters ever deserve our sympathy?

Anita Rani | 15:34 UK time, Friday, 6 February 2009

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Share your views.


If your only choice was sleeping rough on the street or squatting in a property which didn't belong to you, which would you choose? With the economic crisis deepening and people facing the very real threat of losing their homes, some are resorting to tactics first made famous more than three decades ago.


co_anita_rani.jpg

Squatting is often associated with anti-establishment types who as a matter of principle decide to live in squatter communities. However I discovered a very different scenario. It's now becoming an option for those who would have never considered it just a few months ago.


The rampant unemployment of the 1970s heralded a wave of squatting as desperate people turned to desperate measures to put a roof over their heads. But in 1994 the squatters were dealt a heavy blow by the Criminal Justice Act which was ushered in by the then Home Secretary Michael Howard and toughened up the laws on such practices. Maybe you were there and have stories of your own to share?


Now however a new form of squatting has emerged. The current recession is hitting some people very hard and faced with the prospect of losing their home people like Terry Armstrong have made the decision to squat in his own house.

But the bailiffs aren't too far away and eviction faces the dwellers who decide to take the law into their own hands in this way.


More information:
Squatting and the law

Tenant Services Authority


See also:
Bailiffs - more information


What do you think? With thousands of homes standing empty do you blame the homeless for moving in? Or is there no excuse for such illegal activities, when the rest of us have to pay our mortgages? Share your views.



Will biofuels ever be viable?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 17:27 UK time, Thursday, 5 February 2009

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Share your views.

 

With the dangers of global warming ringing in our ears and our landfills struggling to cope with the amount of junk we throw away, wouldn't it be great if there was some way of one problem potentially solving the other?

 

Marty Jopson explored a possible alternative to burning fossil fuels to power our cars, with the latest development in biofuel which takes the carbon from our rubbish and turns it into ethanol.

 

But does a fuel made from rubbish automatically mean a car with rubbish performance? Marty put the pedal to the metal and took the latest in biofueled cars out for a spin on a test track to find out.

 

More information:
Could biofuels end up damaging our planet?

 

What do you think? Will biofuels ever be a viable alternative to petrol? Should we be devoting more time to finding something to replace fossil fuels? Share your views.

Is lying on your CV ever acceptable?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 17:02 UK time, Thursday, 5 February 2009

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Share your views.

 

lying_cv.jpg

With a surprising number of us admitting to bending the truth on job applications, Iain Lee took a look at the art of CV duplicity.

 

He investigated how common the phenomenon is and asked, as the economic downturn worsens and concern grows about finding work, whether more and more of us will be prepared in the future to fib to get ahead.

 

More information:
Working Lunch CV guide

 

Recruitment and Employment Confederation

 

What do you think? Is it ever okay to bend the truth when applying for a job? And what's the biggest fib you've ever told on your CV? Share your views.

Can protests make a difference?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 14:59 UK time, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

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Can't see the film? Watch it here.


Share your views.


In the wake of the North Lincolnshire refinery strikes, impressionist and long-time Greenpeace member Alistair McGowan set out to discover if protests can still make a difference.


 

McGowan has been a member of Greenpeace since the early 1990s and recently clubbed together with fellow protestors to buy a patch of land in the middle of the site of the proposed third Heathrow runway.


 

In his report, McGowan met other people trying to make a difference. People like Brian Haw, who has been camped out in front of the Houses of Parliament for the last seven years in protest of the Iraq war.


 

"I'm not into stunts," Haw told McGowan. "But all of us haven't done enough. Two million took to the streets [in protest of the war in 2003], from all sections of society. But the trouble is, they went home again."


 

"It is making a difference," said Haw of his vigil. "I've been told by people from all countries of the world, that it gives them hope."


 

But it's not just on the political margins that protest can be found. In the 1980s MP Clare Short made her name taking direct action against the pornography industry. But she told McGowan that, when it comes to protest, we should learn the lessons of political history.


 

"The French and the Russians had violent revolutions which achieved enormous historical change but at an enormous cost," she said.


 

But Short also predicted that, in future, the voices of dissent could get louder, saying: "In this next year or two, which is going to be much harder economically, the mood is going to change. People will come back to protest and those kinds of politics."


 

More information:
Government, citizens and rights site


Liberty guide to peaceful protest


 

But what do you think? Can raising your voice in protest still make a difference? Share your views.

Why are we ashamed to talk about God?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 17:54 UK time, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

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Share your views.

 

The One Show's Anita Rani has been out and about in multi-faith Birmingham. She was asking about the very British reluctance to talk about matters of religion.


"It's not fair to say that people in Britain do not feel comfortable about talking about religion." Dr Robert Beckford said to Anita.


"You've got to be precise, minority communities are very comfortable with their faith and at ease with articulating what they believe, because religion is still very important in those communities."


"However, the crisis for me is among white middle class communities who feel it's still impolite to talk about religion.


"I think in contemporary Britain, religion has been exoticised. If, for example, a Brazillian footballer scores a goal and crosses himself, than that is ok, because he's Brazillian - he's from somewhere far off where church and religion still matters.

As long as we can 'other' religion and see it as something separate from us then it's ok."


Do you feel it is impolite to talk about God? Why are many of us Brits reluctant to talk about faith? Share your views.

Is gambling too easy?

Melanie Grant - One Show team | 14:13 UK time, Monday, 2 February 2009

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Slot machine


TV, the bookies, online, casinos, bingo, pubs, the lottery...there are countless temptations to have a quick flutter.


For most a punt on something like the slot machines is just harmless but sometimes, it's the occasional gamble that can turn into an addiction. Take Andrea Steel who spoke to The One Show for example, her gambling problem started on the fruit machines at the age of 15.


It was Andrea's means of 'escapism' but when she started spending in the region of £300-£400 per week, gambling soon became a problem.


The temptation for people like Andrea could be even bigger following the government's announcement that the jackpot in slot machines is to rise from £35 to £75.


And with the amount you put into these machines also increasing from £1 to £2, the stakes are higher.


While pub, club and amusement arcade owners have lobbied for an increase in stakes as they cope with the recession, the plans have been critisised by anti-gambling organisations.


Christian author, Chick Yuill feels raising jackpots prize money is a bad idea because it will attract the young and the vulnerable. He says, "Fruit machines are the doorway into gambling that hooks people."



Where to go if you feel you have a problem:


Gamcare - 0845 6000 133
www.gamcare.org.uk



Gambler's Anonymous
www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk/




Are slot machines the route to gambling addiction? Is gambling a loser's game? Or is the art of gambling knowing when to give up?

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