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Publication date:- 2017-05-19

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 3.

₤1m of green farming subsidies in Southport could be lost after general election

₤1M of funding given to farms in the constituency of Southport to help protect nature and wildlife could be lost after the general election unless the next government acts, according to fresh analysis by Friends of the Earth.

The environmental charity has crunched the numbers for Southport to find out how much money is going to farms in the constituency under Environmental Stewardship funding agreements. The money is vital for both farmers and the local environment in Southport and it goes towards activities like restoring hedgerows, planting trees, reducing flooding and creating wildlife habitats.

The cash is paid to farmers as part of the European wide Common Agricultural Policy but after Brexit this money will come to an end after 2020 unless the next government agrees on a replacement scheme. Without a new system to support farmers to manage their land sustainably, precious wildlife and habitats already under threat will suffer further.

Friends of the Earth are asking all parliamentary candidates standing in Southport to commit to maintain and increase support for farmers to protect the environment after Brexit.

Friends of the Earth food and farming campaigner Clare Oxborrow said:- "This funding is vital for nature and for local farmers. It helps to reduce flooding, create wildlife habitats, plant trees and restore hedgerows, but all of this could be lost after the general election. We're asking all parliamentary candidates to commit to keeping and increasing this critical funding post Brexit."

As Northern refuse to settle guards' safety dispute, fares rip off

RAIL UNION RMT condemned the shocking fact that while Northern Rail continue to knock back moves to resolve the current guards' safety dispute, the German state owned operation will be pressing ahead with plans to increase fares substantially from this Sunday, 21 May 2017. ‎The increase follows a previous hike less than 9 months ago in September 2016, as Arriva seek to milk the franchise for every penny they can get.

Despite the pretence of 'rail devolution' it is clear from the announcement that value for money for passengers travelling in the North of England has been shunted into a siding to ensure that profits continue to flow out of the country to subsidise the publicly owned and operated railway in Germany. A shocking example of this latest rip off is the revelation that the so called Cheap Day Return fares, in Greater Manchester, will increase by up to 50p, or up to 9.25%, taking the maximum fare to ₤5.90.

The announcement also includes new fares, which are only available to buy from the Northern mobile phone app or website, with fulfilment via m-ticket. RMT says that this is the clearest possible recognition of the complete lack of infrastructure, such as ticket offices or even ticket machines, which the union believes will lead to further attacks on the jobs and conditions of on-train staff.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:- "This weekends latest fares rip off is just another example of industry costs being shifted to the passenger, whilst the profits made continue to be leaked away from Britain's railways and shipped across the Channel. Northern should be forced to pull back from their twin strategy of axing guards and raising fares in the dash to fatten up the profits for the German state operator Arriva. This is a scandalous situation that puts the issue of public ownership of our railways right at the top of the agenda."

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