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Train tickets could be '5.6% more expensive next year'

The Retail Prices Index figure for July, released today, will determine by how much fares will rise in 2015 Credit: PA

The cost of some train tickets could be almost 6% higher next year.

Rail commuters will be paying close attention to the announcement of last month's Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure today, as it will be used to calculate increases to next year's regulated fares, including season tickets.

Ticket price rises are capped at 1% plus the July RPI figure, expected to be around 2.6%.

Train companies can add another 2% to some fares, as long as the overall average remains as per the formula.

Campaigners say ticket prices are rising four times faster than the average wage and that the measurement used to calculate fare increases has been discredited.

Thousands of families in the East of England are living in huge debt

More than 130,000 families in the East of England are in problem debt, owing over £240 million in bills and loans. Credit: PA Images

A study by The Children's Society has revealed that hundreds of thousands of children in the East of England are living in families crippled with debt, and it's having a massive impact on their lives.

The Children's Society and StepChange Debt say children in families which are failing to keep up with bill and loan repayments miss out on essentials, suffer from anxiety, and many experience bullying as a result of their family's problems.

  • In total, more than 130,000 families in the East of England are in problem debt, owing over £240 million in bills and loans.
  • Norfolk has the biggest number, with 45,346 families across the county struggling to keep up with repayments.
  • In Clacton in Essex and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, 30% of all families are affected.

Russell Hookey spoke to Dr Sam Royston from The Children's Society, and began by asking him, why is this happening?


Farmers warned to take precautions against straw stack arsonists

Farmers warned to take precautions against straw stack arsonists.

Farmers across the region are being warned to take precautions this harvest to protect straw stacks from arsonists.

The CLA says they see more deliberate straw stack fires throughout July and October - which cost farming businesses thousands of pounds, as well as disrupting rural communities and motorists.

New chief explains how he will turn around ambulance trust

A hundred and fifty new vehicles on the road, 400 new frontline recruits, and more training for existing staff - the new chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service, Anthony Marsh, today set out his plans to turn around the beleaguered trust.

An East of England ambulance

The service, which covers Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, has taken a battering over poor response times and damning CQC reports. Dr Marsh was brought in in January to try and turn around the Ambulance Service, which has been criticised for failing to meet target times and provide patient care.

The Ambulance Trust's annual conference

The new chief executive says changes are happening, but it could take as much as 2 years before we see positive results.

Here is Tanya Mercer's full interview with Dr Marsh...

Earlier Jonathan Wills spoke to Norman Lamb, Health Minister and MP for North Norfolk - and asked him if the new chief exec is the right man for the job?

Positive reaction to the Church of England's historic decision to allow women to become bishops

There's been a positive reaction in the region to the Church of England's historic decision to allow women to become bishops.

More than twenty years after women were able to become priests the General Synod has given approval to allow the appointment of female bishops.

A previous vote in 2012 was backed by the Houses of Bishops and Clergy but blocked by traditionalists.

"Being realistic the vast majority of women priests are never going to be bishops. So it's not about becoming a bishop, it's about people wanting the church to acknowledge that women can be.

"And therefore when there is a post coming up, if there are women around who have the right experience and wisdom it's really good to know that they can be considered for the job alongside male candidates."

– The Very Rev Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich


Cambridge best place to find a job

Cambridge city centre. Credit: PA Images

If you are after a job you might be interested to know that Cambridge was the best place to find one last month.

According to the search engine Adzuna there were seven jobs for every jobseeker in the city during May - up from just two a year ago.

Competition for work nationwide fell to a six year low last month. The average advertised salary in the East also grew to just over £29,900 last month.

MP warns solar farms and bio-energy targets are leading to a loss of agricultural land

A Cambridgeshire MP has warned that solar farms and bio-energy targets are leading to a loss of agricultural land in the region.

Sir James Paice said solar farms should be built on unproductive brownfield sites. His comments follow new research which shows the UK could run out of land to meet food demand by 2030.

"The most important thing is to realise that we are a population that is growing, growing from 66 million last year to around 70 million by 2020. That in itself is huge, the proportion of food we produce ourselves has been falling. We can't import it all we should even try."

– Sir James Paice, MP for South East Cambridgeshire

Fewer of us are taking time off sick

The East of England has one of the UK's lowest sickness rates among its workers.

Employees in East Anglia take an average of four and a half days off due to illness each year compared with a national average of 4.9 days.

According to manufacturers organisation EEF, sickness levels are at a record low but long term absence, due to stress and mental health disorders, is on the increase.

Sickness and absence levels in this region may be amongst the lowest in the UK, but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Driving down absence rates, helping more employees return to work earlier and encouraging their well-being is critical for our economy. But, despite employers increasing investment in managing sickness absence and providing their employees with more health-related benefits, the improvement in overall absence rates has more or less now plateaued.

– Jim Davison, Eastern Region Director at EEF

Tenants fear "revenge evictions" if they complain to landlords

Tenants increasingly fear becoming victims of "revenge evictions" according to Shelter. Credit: PA images.

A national housing charity says it has seen a record increase in the number of tenants reporting that they are afraid of being evicted from their homes.

The number of calls Shelter took from people in the East of England has more than doubled from 250 to nearly 600 in 12 months.

Nine per cent of the tenants it asked said they had avoided asking their landlord to repair a problem or improve conditions in the last year because they feared eviction.

Shelter is calling them "revenge evictions" and said a worrying 2% of people contacting them had become victims after they dared to complain about a problem that was not their responsibility.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins is reviewing whether to change the law to tackle the problem. Today, Shelter called for stronger protection from eviction for renters who reported bad conditions.

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