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Issue:- 24June 2010

Passengers score North West rail services

PASSENGERS travelling in the North West have rated the regionís rail services as part of the independent watchdogís National Passenger Survey (NPS).  Passenger Focusís NPS, in which over 56,000 passengers participate each year, gives a clear indication of how satisfied passengers are with Northern Rail (82%), First TransPennine Express (87%), Virgin Trainsí (90%), Merseyrail (93%), CrossCountry (85%), London Midland (86%) and East Midlands Trainsí (86%) services.  Ashwin Kumar, Passenger Focus rail director, said:- ďThese results show a pretty good picture of the regionís railway. As more trains arrive on time, Britainís rail passengers are becoming more satisfied. Particularly good news is passengers say many train companies have improved value for money following many New Year fares staying the same or even falling as a consequence of the lower inflation rate in mid-2009. However, the gulf between the likes of Virgin Trains (90%) and smaller operators like Merseyrail (93%) compared with Northern Rail (82%) is huge.  The independent publication of this comparative data is one of the most cost effective ways of driving improvements on the railway. As operators vie with each other for pole position it also allows valuable comparisons between routes and the widely different scores operators achieve for various aspects of their services. For example, Northern Railís 82% overall score spans 87% scores on West and North Yorkshire services and 74% on the crowded routes in and around Manchester and Liverpool.Ē  Passenger Focus is now working with train companies to improve those areas passengers have identified as being problematic.

No Happy New Year for pub goers after VAT increase

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, have predicted that the impact of a VAT hike to 20% in January 2011 will force the rate of pub closure to increase above the current devastating rate of 39 a week. Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:- "In the New Year, many pub goers will be hit with a VAT increase that will push up the combined taxation on a pint of beer to over a pound! This historically sad moment for the nationís 15 million pub goers is compounded by the knowledge that this increase will cause yet more well-run community pubs to shut their doors unless the Government acts. Relentless tax increases on the nationís pubs are contributing to pub closures, job losses and a decline in community spirit. The announcement of a review into alcohol pricing and taxation this Autumn gives the Government an opportunity to avoid the harm that this VAT increase will impose on pubs. CAMRA will be pressing for targeted measures to support well-run community pubs. These measures could include a new class of business rate relief for community pubs and a compensatory reduction in beer duty."  Do you agree?  Email our news room via:-

Domestic abuse given red card by Chris Foy

A Premiership football referee is helping Accident & Emergency staff at Southport Hospital give the red card to domestic violence.

This year's FA Cup Final referee, Chris Foy, who is also a Merseyside Police Constable, visited the hospital on June 17 to support a scheme that will see a police presence at the Accident & Emergency department during the course of the World Cup.  Chris met with staff and praised the work of the hospital. 

"This is something I am pleased to support. People in the NHS do a wonderful job and we should all be enjoying the World Cup, not putting extra demands on hospital staff through stupidity," Chris said.

Southport North East Neighbourhood Sergeant Paul Riding explained that there is a trend of increased alcohol consumption linked with large sporting competitions such as the World Cup, which has historically led to increased levels of violence, in particular domestic violence.

The accident & emergency department can be at the forefront of dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence incidents, which is why Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has paid for police presence in the department during the World Cup tournament.

Sgt Riding said:- "We are supporting the hospital by working with staff during the World Cup event to provide reassurance to staff and visitors.  It is good to have the support of Chris to reinforce the message that there is a zero tolerance approach to dealing with potential perpetrators of violence, particularly domestic violence."

Hospital spokesman Matthew King added:- "We are grateful to Chris Foy for giving up his time to come and support us. Like the police, we have a zero tolerance approach to violence against our staff and although fortunately this does not happen too often, we are obviously aware that at this time there is a potential for it to increase."

Chris Foy became a Premier League referee in 2001 and has 20 years' service with Merseyside Police.


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