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The Transport Committee to hear reports on future of the high speed rail project

MPS on the Transport Committee will today hear an update on the high speed rail service. David Higgins, Chair of the HS2 ltd and Lord Deighton, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury of the HS2 Growth task force will give separate reports,

Yesterday the Government announced plans to scrap the proposal to link the High Speed two rail route with the Channel tunnel train line at St Pancreas. This was after David Higgins questioned the possibility of the route in his report to the Government released last week.

David Higgins also asked in his report for the building on the Northern section of the high speend rail project to be accelerated. The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has asked the H2S task force to look into what is achievable in this sector.

Disability Confident scheme has already won backing from major businesses

Just 45% of London's disabled people of working age are in work and a new roadshow hopes to bosst these numbers. The Disability Confidence Roadshow will open today fronted by businessman and Falklands veteran Simon Weston.

The event is designed to increase the confidence of London's employers to recruit disabled people in the capital. Sponsored by Barclays Bank it will be attended by companies and businesses such as GlaxcoSmithKline, Morgan Chase, BP and Morgan Stanley

Mr Weston said 'What I want employers to take away from this conference is that disabled people cane be some of your best employees. We're some of the most determined workers, who go the extra mile to secure results.'

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Changes to HS2 like "putting lipstick on a pig"

Proposed changes to the HS2 high speed rail link amount to "putting lipstick on a pig", a Tory former Cabinet minister has said.

Cheryl Gillan, a long-standing HS2 critic, said proposals being considered by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to finish phase two of the #50 billion project earlier and remove the London link to HS1 were inadequate.

Hitachi move to London 'huge vote of confidence'

This move demonstrates a huge vote of confidence in Britain, its workers and its rail industry from one of Japan's biggest businesses. It follows the company's announcement last year of 750 new jobs at their factory in Newton Aycliffe, which I was delighted to launch with [Transport Secretary] Patrick McLoughlin.

It's further testament to the Government's industrial strategy which is giving companies of Hitachi's stature the confidence to invest in the UK in an expanding rail sector, creating new jobs and increasing exports that will help sustain long-term economic growth.

– Vince Cable, Business Secretary

Hitachi moving global rail headquarters to London

Hitachi is moving its global rail headquarters from Tokyo to London. The move comes after the firm won a £1.2 billion deal to make the next generation of inter-city trains at its new factory in County Durham.

Hitachi logo seen at the company headquarters in Tokyo Credit: Reuters

The new purpose-built factory in Newton Aycliffe is expected to be operational from 2015 with full production starting in 2016.

A total of 270 carriages will be manufactured at the new plant, enhancing the factory's ability to win lucrative rail contracts across Europe.ends 200853 MAR 14

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Haringey is London's best performer

Price growth is no longer driven by prime central boroughs like Kensington and Chelsea Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Rightmove is also seeing evidence that house price growth in London is no longer being driven by the wealthy "prime central" boroughs.

London's worst-performing borough in March was named as Kensington and Chelsea, where asking prices had dropped by 2.4% on the previous month.

But the average price tag for a home in the borough was still £2.1 million.

The English capital's best-performing borough was found to be Haringey, where prices had surged by 9.5% month-on-month to reach £597,634 typically.

Westminster and Camden, where average asking prices were above £1 million, were also among Rightmove's worst-performing areas in London in March, while Barnet and Hounslow, where prices were around £600,000-plus, were among the best.

Small Businesses Federation calls for Congestion Charge reform

The Small Businesses Federation has called for 'root and branch' reform of the Congestion Charge.

They say the charge- which TFL plans to increase this year- is effectively tax on small businesses, not a way of controlling congestion.

They say the congestion charge should stay the same while a new review is carried out - which should consider major changes such as creating a one free car pass for small businesses.

However, London First, a non-profit business organisation, say their members accept not only the existence of the charge but that it has to increase in order to keep more traffic off the roads and improve the capital.

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