Live updates

Petrol price wars: Rural drivers feel the pinch

General view of petrol pumps Credit: PA Images

Rural motorists are beginning to feel petrol price pressure at the pumps again, according to the Hampshire-based AA.

Average UK petrol prices went back above 130p a litre at the end of April and continue to hover around that level.

But the AA, based in Basingstoke, said that a war in which supermarkets have pitted vouchers against rock-bottom pump prices means the cheapest petrol in many big towns and cities is at year-lows of just under 126p.

It added that in small rural towns, where major supermarket competition was less fierce, the price gap between them and cheaper major towns has started to grow again to 4p a litre.

General view of petrol pumps Credit: PA Images

AA president Edmund King said: "While supermarkets, faced recently with worse sales figures when fuel is factored in, have held their fire on pump price increases in cities and major towns, there are signs that some of them and other retailers are getting price-trigger-happy again in rural towns.

"A 2p increase in the wholesale price of petrol through March into April may justify that but, if pump prices stay higher while costs continue to fall back, rural drivers will be tempted to look elsewhere for cheaper fuel."

Simon Cowell now worth £300 million

The music mogul has seen his worth swell to £300 million to put him in eighth place in a league of music millionaires compiled for the new Sunday Times Rich List, which will be published at the weekend.

Topping the music list - as he did last year - is London-based Ukrainian businessman Len Blavatnik, whose empire includes the Warner Music Group which was acquired in 2011. He is estimated to be worth £10 billion.

Simon's value will have been boosted by a new deal with ITV for further series of The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, and appears not to have been seriously dented by the stage flop of spoof musical I Can't Sing! - for which he was one of the backers - which closed after a matter of weeks.

Advertisement

Heathrow Express staff in row over jobs and pay

Heathrow Express Credit: PA Images

Staff on the Heathrow Express rail service are to be balloted for industrial action in a row over jobs, pay and spending cuts.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will vote in the coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of action, including strikes.

The union says around 200 jobs are under threat because of cuts resulting from the Airport's budget reduction.

Acting general secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT does not buy for a moment the case for handing out savage cuts to Heathrow Express when Heathrow is generating hand-outs to shareholders of over £600 million.

"The Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services are dealing with growing demand as the airport expands and the idea that safety and service is going to be sacrificed at the stroke of an accountant's pen would shame London and leave these high-profile services extremely vulnerable.

"RMT will mount a massive publicity and political campaign, backed up by industrial action, to stop these outrageous and dangerous cuts dead in their tracks."

Pensioners swindled 'in every street' by mail fraud

In every street in the South East someone could be being conned out of thousands of pounds - because of scam mail.

Sussex Police have become the first force in the country to try to find out exactly how bad the problem is.

They say elderly and vulnerable people are sometimes parting with their life savings to criminals sending them letters - posing as charities, competition organisers and suppliers. The cheques they send are funding criminal gangs abroad.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to victim's son Chris Becket, Insp Nick Bowman and PC Bernadette Lawrie from Sussex Police.

This story also features a police interview with the late Tom Beckett.

Desperate call to save special needs nursery

An urgent financial appeal for help has been made by a Sussex children's charity that cares for youngsters with special needs.

Trustees of the Camelia Botnar Centre in Worthing say they are running out of money - and time to raise it.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to centre manager Helen Davies, trustee Linda Smith and parents Russell Cochran and Emma James.

Advertisement

HS2 fares need to be set 'at the right level'

There have been concerns that premium fares will be charged for those using the new high-speed line whose first phase, from London to Birmingham, is due to open in 2026.

Passengers travelling on domestic services using HS1, the 186mph Channel Tunnel fast link, pay much higher fares than those using "conventional" Kent commuter services.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said "setting fares at the right level" was one of its five key priorities for HS2.

Legislation for the first phase is currently going through Parliament, with a second, Y-shaped, phase, taking the line to north west and north east England due to be completed around 2032/33.

The life blood of the health service

This band of bikers includes an engineer, a businessman and a former police officer but they are not just easy riders. They work together delivering urgently-needed blood and medical supplies to hospitals. The 140 volunteers work for free during the night and on weekends.

Our reporter Nashreen Issa has been out with the charity called SERV. She talks to biker Graham Perrin and Angela Green from East Kent Hospitals. Also featured are Caitlin and Alison Kydd who meet the chairman of the group Arthur Godden.

Load more updates