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Water workers strike over pension row

Credit: pa

Hundreds of water workers are due to take strike action later over United Utilities' plans for their staff pension scheme. The strike has been called due to a management plan to impose changes to a staff pension scheme from April 1st. Its claimed the changes will reduce scheme members' pensions significantly, - unions believe younger members of staff could lose as much as £10,000 per year of their guaranteed income in retirement.

United Utilities are making an unnecessary and unjustified grab for the retirement incomes of their workers. The pension scheme is in good financial health and there is no need for these changes to be made. It is not too late for management to see sense and stop the strike action by halting their plan

– Vic Walsh, UNISON North West

The unions helped to shape the final version of the new scheme. Rather than scrap the defined benefit scheme as planned, we agreed to introduce a hybrid scheme, which will cost us considerably more. So, we have made considerable concessions already and hope that the unions will show a similar desire to compromise

– UNITED UTILITIES

Union members at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead to strike

The GMB Union say that up to five hundred of its members will strike Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

Union members at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead are staging a 24 hour strike.

The GMB Union says that up to five hundred of its members are taking part in the walkout in a long running dispute over pay and conditions.

There'll be a second 24 hour strike on Monday, with more dates planned for February.

Andy Burnham: 'put the North of England to the front of the queue' for transport investment

The Mayor of Greater Manchester has said he's "not surprised" by new figures which suggest that the North West gets less than half the transport investment allocated to London.

Andy Burnham says "packed out, clapped out" trains and poor roads are preventing the Northern Powerhouse from reaching its full potential.

We're making the case to the government to put the North of England to the front of the queue for new transport investment.

We can't carry on as we are, and we can't keep funnelling money into London year on year.

– Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

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New report finds North-South divide in transport spending

The report claims a North South divide in transport spending Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/PA Images

A new report has highlighted a North - South divide in transport spending.

The research by the IPPR North think tank indicates that planned transport investment in London is two-and-a-half times higher per person than in the north of England.

London will receive £4,155 per person compared with just £1,600 in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber regions combined.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling sparked anger in July last year by supporting a new £30 billion Crossrail 2 scheme in London and the South East days after a series of rail electrification projects in Wales, the Midlands and the North were axed or downgraded.

Mr Grayling claims per person spending is higher in the North West than the South East when local transport schemes are taken into account.

Despite the Transport Secretary's recent statements, London is still set to receive almost three times more transport investment per person than the North. This is indefensible.

The North has been underfunded in comparison to London for decades, and our figures demonstrate that ministers have failed to redress this imbalance.

This failure will continue to hold back the North and the country until the Government acts.

– Luke Raikes, IPPR North

Good news for region's airports as number of package holidays set to rise

Tomorrow is apparently Sunshine Saturday.

It's the first weekend in January, when people have been back at work a few days and decide they want to book a summer holiday.

And this year, the holiday body ATOL is predicting the number of package holidays is going to rise by 40%.

And that's great news for our region's two major airports.

Lise McNally spoke to Denise Devlin (holidaymaker), Kathryn Darbandi (Thomas Cook's UK's director of retail and customer experience), and Robin Tudor (Head of PR at Liverpool John Lennon Airport).

Plans considered for new Cumbrian power plant

Old Hutton Sub Station. Credit: itv

Local councillors will consider proposals for a gas power plant in Cumbria which has led to widespread opposition amongst local people...

Developer, Stratera Energy, says the site near Old Hutton is ideally located next to a substation and could provide much needed electrcity, but opponents say it will impact wildlife and increase the risk of flooding.

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