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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

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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.

British Gas fined £11.1 million by Ofgem

British Gas has been fined £11.1 million by regulator Ofgem after it failed to deliver energy efficiency measures on time.

British Gas will pay the money to charity.

British Gas fined £11.1 million by Ofgem Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The regulator said British Gas delivered just 62.4% of its Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) by the required deadline at the end of 2012, meaning thousands of households had to wait for energy efficiency measures, such as insulation, to be installed during the winter.

Ofgem and British Gas, which blamed bad weather as one of the factors behind the delay, said the £11.1 million penalty will be used to help vulnerable customers through energy efficiency advice and improvements.

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Britain's First World War debt to be repaid in full

Britain's First World War debt is to be repaid in full, George Osborne has announced.

The Government will redeem the £1.9 billion of debt from the outstanding 3.5% War Loan - which was issued in 1932 to reduce the costs of servicing the national debt - in March 2015.

Britain is to pay off the debt it incurred in the First World War. Credit: PA Wire

Chancellor George Osborne said it was a "moment for Britain to be proud of", adding: "We can, at last, pay off the debts Britain incurred to fight the First World War.

"It is a sign of our fiscal credibility and it’s a good deal for this generation of taxpayers.

"It’s also another fitting way to remember that extraordinary sacrifice of the past."

Public 'not feeling benefit of economic growth'

Only 18% of people feel the upturn has led to an improvement in their living standards. Credit: PA Wire

Seven in ten people in Britain say they are no better off despite the economy growing, a new ITV News/Comres poll has found.

Just 18% of the 2,053 asked felt that their living standards had improved as a result of the upturn, while a further 10% were unsure.

The survey indicated that the public remains much more negative about their personal finance situation than they do about the general economy.

Q: Do you think the state of the British economy has got better or worse over the past three months?

  • Better: 30%
  • Worse: 34%
  • No change: 36%

Q: Do you think your personal financial situation has got better or worse over the past three months?

  • Better: 17%
  • Worse: 37%
  • No change: 46%
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