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East Coast mainline privatisation branded as "madness" by unions

Rail union campaigners have protested at stations along the East Coast main line to mark the route's return to private ownership.

The RMT union say it should stay in the public sector because it's provided the Treasury with millions of pounds since it was taken over six years ago following the collapse of National Express.

But from tomorrow it will be handed over to be run by private firms Virgin and Stagecoach.

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Cold homes 'could kill 11,000 in region by 2030'

Almost eleven thousand vulnerable people in Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire could die in the next fifteen years because they're unable to heat their homes.

The charity National Energy Action's released figures warning about the threat to vulnerable people from cold homes Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

That's the stark warning from the charity National Energy Action says domestic energy consumers are being hit hard by Treasury energy taxes. They're calling on politicians to address the issue as a matter of priority ahead of the general election.

Government figures show there are currently 4.5 million households which are unable to properly heat their homes across the country.

  • In Yorkshire and The Humber, 244850 households (10.8%) live in fuel poverty.
  • NEA believes that of the 3000 'excess winter deaths' in Yorkshire and The Humber every year, 30% of these were attributed to cold homes.
  • Fuel poor households in Yorkshire and The Humber typically need to pay£440 more than their more affluent neighbours to sustain a warm home.

Thousands of families facing dilemma over heating or eating

Thousands of families across the region are facing a daily dilemma - whether to eat, or heat their homes.

The Children's Society says almost two hundred and twenty thousand children are living in families who've fallen behind with their energy bills, and they're three times more likely to live in damp, mouldy conditions and suffer illness.

Now the charity's joining forces with the north of England's gas distribution company to help people out of fuel poverty:

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27,000 letters issued on Lendal Bridge repayment

Refunds for Lendal bridge fines

York City Council is sending out letters to 27,000 people who have currently not claimed refunds in relation to penalties incurred crossing Lendal Bridge.

Letters informing motorists of refunds due to them have been sent to their last known address and are expected to be fully distributed in the coming weeks.

They include information on the refund process as well as notifying them that the deadline of the online process for Lendal Bridge repayments has been extended to 31 December 2015.

For more information about Lendal Bridge repayments, including full FAQs and background information click here

Makeover in honour of Boston's historic past

The town of Boston has its roots in Medieval times, but now its looking to get a makeover to honour its historic architecture. The borough council has secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which could lead to further investment of more than a million pounds.

The money will go to conserving buildings just off the Market Place and bringing back traditional shop fronts. It's hoped that new signs around the town will also make it easier for visitors to find out about Boston's past. Michael Billington reports.

  1. Central

East Coast line privatisation could be delayed over competition fears

Plans to privatise the East Coast line may be delayed over fears of a lack of competition between train operators.

Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive

Inter City Railways Ltd, owned by Stagecoach and Virgin, is due to take over the franchise on March 1.

But sections of the route between Peterborough, Grantham and Lincoln overlap with East Midlands trains - already operated by Stagecoach.

The Competition and Markets Authority says this could lead to a reduced quality service and higher fares for passengers.

Stagecoach says they're working to address the issues raised and intends to run services from the beginning of March as planned.

  1. National

SSE to slash gas prices by 4.1%

SSE to cut household gas prices at end of April Credit: PA Wire

SSE is to reduce household gas prices by 4.1% on April 30 before extending its energy price freeze until at least July 2016.

It is the latest energy firm to announce a cut in gas prices.

British Gas announced a five per cent cut in prices, npower is to cut its standard tariff by an average of 5.1%, E.ON reduced tariffs by 3.5 per cent, and Scottish Power announced a 4.8 per cent drop in prices starting February 20.

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