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Pensioners to get market-beating bond offer

Couples aged 65 and over will be able to save up to £40,000 at market-beating interest rates from next months, George Osborne confirmed today.

National Savings and Investments (NS&I) will issue one-year bonds paying annual interest of 2.8% and three-year bonds paying 4%.

George Osborne said the rates were Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The Chancellor said the rates would be "the best available" in the UK and would give pensioners "the certainty and comfort of a good return over the life of their investment".

The bonds are designed to help older people earn the best interest available on the savings they rely upon after more than five years of being hammered by record low Bank of England rates at 0.5%.

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Rail fares rise: 'The service is terrible - it's an insult'

Following the announcement of an average 2.2% hike on rail fares in January, passengers have spoken to ITV News about the price increases, which come into effect on 2 January.

One commuter said "My rail fare is almost £5,000 and the service is terrible most of the winter ... it's a bit of an insult really."

Government making 'tough decisions' over rail fare hikes

Responding to the announcement of an average 2.2% increase in rail fares January, Rail Minister Claire Perry said that the Government was "taking the tough decisions needed" to improve railways.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said the Government is taking 'tough decisions' over railway improvements Credit: PA

This Government has embarked on one of the biggest programmes of rail investment for a generation as part of our long term economic plan, investing £38 billion over the next five years.

Passengers are rightly concerned about the cost and complexity of fares. That is why last year we announced a real-terms freeze on regulated fares for the first time in a decade and this continues into 2015.

Significantly we have also removed the fares flex for 2015. As a further measure we have asked operators to improve the information passengers receive when buying a ticket.

– Rail Minister Claire Perry

Labour: Government has no plans for the railways

Labour has said that the Prime Minister is failing to stand up for struggling workers over rising rail fares, pointing out that some passengers have been hit by a 30% increase since 2010.

Describing ministers as "out of touch" with the problems of everyday commuting, Labour’s Shadow Rail Minister Lillian Greenwood said that the Government has no plans to deliver changes that the railways need.

The collapse of franchising in 2012 cost over £50 million, and millions more has been lost through reduced premium payments.

That money could have been used to address the cost of living crisis, but now passengers are paying the price instead.

The Government has no plan for the railways and won't deliver the change passengers need. Only Labour would put passengers first by reforming the railways and enforcing a strict cap on every route.

– Lillian Greenwood MP, Labour’s Shadow Rail Minister

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Unions hit out at 'scandalous' rail fares rise

Transport trade unions have criticised today's announcement of an average 2.2% increase in rail fares from January 2.

The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) described the rise as an "annual persecution of passengers," while The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) called the increase "scandalous".

We have seen fares jump by as much as 245% on key routes since privatisation 20 years ago.

It is now cheaper for a family of four to fly to Iceland to see Father Christmas - £224 - than it is for one person to buy an any-time walk on return rail fare from London to Manchester - £321.

– Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union

After two decades of privatisation the British people pay some of the highest fares in Europe to travel on clapped-out, understaffed and overcrowded services while the private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

– Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT transport union

Rail fares hike 'to improve services'

Following the announcement of an average 2.2% rise in rail fare from January 2, industry body the Rail Delivery Group said that money from train fares is fed back into rail services.

Over the next five years, Network Rail is spending on average £27 million a day on a better railway, alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services. That will mean more seats, better stations and improved journeys.

For every £1 spent on fares, 97p goes on track, train, staff and other costs while 3p goes in profits earned by train companies for running services on Europe's fastest growing railway.

The industry is continuing to work together to get more for every pound we invest to enable government to make fares decisions which work best for passengers.

– Rail Delivery Group director general Michael Roberts

More rail passengers pushed to £5,000-a-year fares

More rail passengers will pay more than £5,000 a year for their season tickets from January 2.

Rail fares will rise by an average 2.2% in January Credit: PA

Announcing an average 2.2% rise on rail fares in 2015, industry body the Rail Delivery Group said the rise is the lowest average rise for five years.

However, many season ticket holders will find their average rise will be greater than their annual pay rise.

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