North Yorkshire Police u-turn on new HQ

North Yorkshire Police say that a u-turn on proposals to build new headquarters near Thirsk will save the tax-payer millions of pounds.

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National

Rail travel 'out of the reach of ordinary people'

Rail travel is being pushed "out the reach of some ordinary people" by fare increases, the head of a public transport advocacy group said.

Stephen Joseph, executive director of the Campaign for Better Transport, told Good Morning Britain that Government-dictated ticket price hikes mean rail fares are rising four times faster than wages.

Commuters will find out how much rail fares are likely to rise by next year when the Retail Price Index (RPI) for last month is released today.

The annual increase is capped at July's RPI plus 1%, with an extra 2% added to some tickets.

National

Rail fare rise a 'kick in the teeth' for passengers

The RMT union, which campaigns for the railways to return to public ownership, has said that next year's fare rise is a "kick in the teeth" for rail passengers.

With the “flex” rule passengers are facing fare increases of up to 5.5% at a time when wages are stagnating. People will simply be priced off the railways while the greedy train operating companies are laughing all the way to the bank. This is a kick in the teeth for the millions of British people who use our trains ... With Northern Rail already axing off-peak tickets, with others set to follow, we are once again ratcheting up the highest rail fares in Europe to travel on some of the most clapped-out and overcrowded services ...

– Mick Cash, RMT Acting General Secretary

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Train operators shortlisted for rail franchises

Six train operators have been shortlisted for two franchises covering the North of England.

The Government has promised a 'a world-class rail network' for passengers, but added that the franchise bidders would need to improve customer service and passenger satisfaction on the two networks.

The franchises connect passengers travelling into and between Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle, and onwards to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Those competing for the Northern franchise are Abellio, which is currently running Northern, Arriva and Govia. The three shortlisted for TransPennine Express (TPE) are FirstGroup, Keolis and Stagecoach. FirstGroup and Keolis currently operate TPE in a joint venture.

The Campaign for Better Transport and the RMT transport union have expressed concern that rail services in northern England could be cut.

The Government said bidders will be expected to show how they will make the most of the Government's £1bn investment programme for the rail network in the North of England, which will provide faster and more reliable journeys, more capacity, better trains and improved connections for passengers across the region.

"Building a railway that is fit for the 21st century is a vital part of our long-term economic plan, connecting businesses and communities, generating jobs and boosting growth, and we need strong private sector partners to help us achieve this ambition."

– Rail Minister Claire Perry

'Government's plan in North East is working'

The Work and Pensions Secretary says that the drop in unemployment in the North East is evidence that the Government's plan is working.

"The Government's long-term economic plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society is working – the North East has seen the largest annual increase in the employment rate of any UK region with 54,000 more people in work in the last 12 months.

– Iain Duncan-Smith, Work and Pension Secretary
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