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  1. National

Union: 'We have the highest rail fares in Europe'

At a TUC demonstration outside King's Cross, Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA transport union, said:

Wage rises are just not keeping up with fare rises. We have the highest fares in Europe.

People are forking out a large slice of their disposable income on fares.

Also, we are not encouraging the turn-up-and-go-railway because if you pay on the day the ticket price is very high.

– Mick Whelan, general secretary of train drivers' union Aslef
  1. National

Commuters slam 'disgusting' rail fare hike

Rail commuters have been reacting angrily to the fare increases which has seen prices rise by an average of 2.2%.

Lorna Tullis, 35, a manager, had renewed her Gillingham to London season ticket at the old, 2014, rate. She paid as much as £4,737 as she travels on the Southeastern high-speed Javelin trains to and from St Pancras. Asked about the fare rise, she said:

It's disgusting. It's appalling. Salaries are not keeping up with fare increases. Mine is a good service but it's very expensive.

Company director Mark Chambers said he frequently travelled between London and his home in Bedford and also between Peterborough and Scotland.

He said:

The trains are good value when you can book well in advance but it's very expensive if you turn up and buy a ticket on the day.

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  1. National

Councils must encourage more 'free' ATMs says minister

File photo dated 18/03/13 of money being taken out of a cash machine. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Councils should encourage shops to install free cash machines by offering business rate discounts, a Government Minister has said.

Local Government Minister Penny Mordaunt said that small shops often struggle with local rates payable on cash machines, so giving them an incentive to install free machines would help their businesses and consumers facing fees at the same time.

Ms Mordaunt said: "People should not have to pay through the nose to access their cash. Free-to-use cash machines are a vital service that we are asking councils to take seriously."

The suggestion was welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores, which said half of local stores now contained an ATM.

Despite the growth of cashless payment systems many small stores still rely on cash. But machines in shops can often charge fees of several pounds to users no matter how big the withdrawal.

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£1 fares to carry passengers through Xmas

Special bus services will run in Sheffield on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day for a festive fare of just £1 per journey.

The First and Stagecoach bus services, run as part of Sheffield Bus Partnership and funded by Sheffield City Council, will operate on selected routes on Boxing Day from 7am until around 6.30pm and on New Year’s Day between 8am and 5.30pm.

Christmas hampers for Leeds families

100 festive hampers have been handed out to families across Leeds who couldn't afford a Christmas dinner.

Staff from Park Side Health Centre have raised money throughout the year to make sure parents do not have to make a choice between presents for their children and food on the table.

Volunteers have been providing hampers for the last 14 years, and each one costs twenty five pounds to put together, as Christine Thornton and Rachel Smith explain:

Fake Nike trainers worth £1m seized

There are renewed calls to watch out for fake goods when shopping over the Christmas period.

Don't fall for fake goods Credit: ITV Calendar

North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team, working with officers from the UK’s Border Force, have seized a shipment of fake Nike Air Max trainers with a street value of £1 million.

Border Force officers stopped a container lorry after it arrived at Immingham docks from Esbjerg in Denmark.

Officers found 12,444 pairs of imitation Nike Air Max trainers that were thought to have been made in a factory in Lithuania and were destined for an address in South Yorkshire.

Nike has since paid for the shipment to be destroyed.

It comes as the Trading Standards team is again warning shoppers not to buy counterfeit goods during the countdown to Christmas.

“When you buy fake goods like these bogus trainers you’re effectively giving your money to ruthless criminal networks with links to drug dealing, people trafficking and even terrorism.

“Counterfeit goods are shoddy, poor quality imitations and fake electrical items can prove lethal when they go wrong. “Protect yourself by only buying from legitimate retailers and check the packaging for the relevant safety marks.

“I know money is tight for many people, but what might seem like a bargain buy could put your loved ones at risk."

– Cllr Hazel Chase, North East Lincolnshire Council
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