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April - May 2008

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Dispatches & Reports

Law Society and NSPCC slam plans for 2500% rise in court fees for vulnerable children

The Law Society and NSPCC are warning that plans to increase court fees in care proceedings by more than 2500 per cent could deny vulnerable children access to justice and expose them to serious risk.

The government, in their consultation Public Law Family Fees, has proposed a dramatic increase in court fees for care proceedings from £150 to £4000, which NSPCC and the Law Society warn could deter local authorities from issuing care proceedings to save money.

Although the government plan to set aside £40 million for local authorities for this hike in court fees, this funding will not be ring-fenced, meaning the welfare of many children might be dictated by financial considerations.

Andrew Holroyd, President of the Law Society, says:

“This rise could effectively price children involved in care disputes out of court and deny them the right to justice they need.”

“Rather than court proceedings being issued it is likely that compromises will be reached that are influenced more by financial considerations than what is best for these vulnerable children, leaving them at risk and without a voice.”

NSPCC director and chief executive Dame Mary Marsh said:

“It is a matter of public interest to ensure that children are kept safe and have access to justice. There is a real and serious risk that vulnerable children and their families will be prevented from having full access to justice if these proposals are implemented because some decisions about taking proceedings in relation to vulnerable children could be finance led.”

The Law Society and NSPCC are concerned that local authorities may pursue other strategies to avoid the high costs in care proceedings where a child will not be represented, such as giving parents a second chance in cases of neglect or encouraging them to agree to the child being voluntarily accommodated temporarily instead of issuing proceedings.

Andrew Holroyd says: “The interests of children are in danger of being made a secondary factor under these plans when they should be central. The Law Society will be working with NSPCC to ensure these concerns are expressed in the consultation process.”

Raleigh International’s first ever India expedition takes off

February 2008 saw the first intrepid group of young volunteers from across the UK embark on Raleigh International’s pioneering expedition to India, joining young people from the southern states of Karnaka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu to work on worthwhile projects in some of the most remote areas of the country.

Far removed from the well-trampled tourist trails, these volunteers will be contributing to long-term environmental, community and adventure projects which will see them assisting with elephant and tiger conservation work, living with families in India’s least developed rural areas whilst installing safe drinking water systems, and canoeing through Kerala’s backwaters dense with coconut palms.

‘Over the past 23 years Raleigh International has maintained an impeccable reputation as a pioneer of overseas expeditions, with more than 30,000 young people having embarked on the adventure of a lifetime with the charity,’ commented Stacey Adams, Raleigh International CEO. ‘Our brand new expedition to India takes Raleigh into 2008 with fresh vigour – providing a unique opportunity to not only experience life off-the-beaten-track in this exhilarating country, but to also make a tangible contribution to the future of its most diverse communities.’

Venturers aged 17 to 24 and volunteer managers aged 25 and over who are interested in embarking on Raleigh International’s next expedition to India should visit or call 020 7183 1270 for more information.


Prime Minister Gordon Brown, during his visit to India had announced the appointment of a 42 member High-Level Advisory Board for the UK India Business Council (UKIBC). The UK India Business Council is the lead organisation supporting the promotion of bilateral trade, business and investment opportunities between India and the UK.

These captains of industry and senior academics from major UK Universities will be advising on cross-border investment and trade between India and the UK. The UK’s High-Level Advisory Board, features heads of business such as:

* Sir Richard Branson – Chairman, Virgin Group

* Willie Walsh – CEO, British Airways

* Sir Anthony Bamford – Chairman, JCB

* Sir John Rose – CEO, Rolls Royce

* Arun Sarin – CEO, Vodafone Group

The role of High Level Advisory Board is to bring together industry leaders and high-level influencers twice a year to strategically take the UK India Business Council forward and advise the Chairman on sectoral developments in their respective businesses which affect India. They will be the voice of business on the full spectrum of bilateral trade issues between the UK and India, especially in advance of Trade Summits and High Level Ministerial visits and to assist the UK India Business Council in developing its services to become a centre of excellence for all India related business activity in India.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman of UKIBC said:

“The UK India Business Council exists to promote bilateral business, trade and investment between Britain and India. Now, with the creation of the High Level Advisory Board, we will be able to take Indo-British trade to the next level. I am so proud to see so many of the most distinguished members of British industry on board. They are all the best of the best in their fields – whether business, academia or the professions – and that wealth of experience will be invaluable to us in making the most of the enormous potential that exists between the UK and India.”

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group said:

“It is a great pleasure to be a part of the UK India Business Council’s esteemed advisory board. It is well known that India will play an integral role in the future of global business and UKIBC is making tremendous headway in ensuring that UK business is strategically placed to capitalise on this opportunity. I am very much looking forward to working in close partnership with UKIBC colleagues at this exciting time for both the UK and India”.

Cobra Beer Acquires its First Ever Brewery in India

76% stake purchased in Iceberg Industries Ltd in Bihar

London, UK: London-based beer brand, Cobra Beer has today announced its first ever brewery acquisition. Cobra has acquired a controlling stake in Iceberg Industries Ltd., a leading brewery based in the state of Bihar, north east India. Cobra has purchased 76% of the equity from the Katyal family-owned brewery.

Cobra, the UK’s fastest-growing world beer brand* in percentage terms, is one of the only leading beer brands in the UK to remain independently-owned. As the company’s first acquisition of its own brewery, this marks a significant stage in the Cobra’s ambitious global development strategy. Cobra also brews under license in the UK, Poland, Belgium, The Netherlands and five further locations in India.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman, Cobra Beer, comments “Since we began brewing Cobra in India for the Indian market, back in 2005, we’ve made phenomenal progress. The market is expanding at an incredible rate, and we’re delighted to see so many Indian beer-lovers embracing Cobra as the market grows. The purchase of Iceberg will help us take Cobra to a whole new level in India, allowing us to increase and manage our capacity and to really focus considerable effort on the Indian market.”

Iceberg currently has a manufacturing capacity of 3 million cases per year and will cater for Cobra’s markets in north and east India. Cobra Beer will have full management control including operations, sales, mark and brewing.Adrian McKeon, Chief Executive, Cobra Beer, adds: “The potential for Cobra in India is huge with the beer industry there having grown by 27% in the last fiscal year. We’re looking at capturing a 10% share in the Indian beer market by 2012 and in order to achieve this we need to substantially increase our brewing capacity to sustain our growth. The acquisition of Iceberg is an important first step in helping us do this.”

Much of the success Cobra has enjoyed in the past year in India is attributed to increased distribution, new brewing capacities through contract manufacturing and widespread product acceptance thanks to the brand’s success in the UK. The beer has made strong inroads in key markets such as West Bengal, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and now has pan-India presence.

In the UK meanwhile, Cobra has plans afoot for a concerted push on the on-trade market through a substantial sales and distribution drive. In the last six months Cobra has also made a significant investment in reinforcing its management team, bringing in new Chief Executive, Adrian McKeon from Beam Global Spirits & Wine with Cobra’s founder, Karan Bilimoria moving to role of Chairman. Cobra has also appointed former PepsiCo marketing chief, Will Ghali as its new Marketing Director, Koen Cruycke as Technical Director overseeing all breweries, and Nick Paget has joined from Beam Global as Cobra’s first-ever Commercial Director.


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