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News Report Page 13 of 18
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News reports located on this page = 4.

Transport Secretary more than trebles investment for rail in the North to over £

PASSENGERS in the North are set for a major boost as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps more than trebles the investment for TransPennine Route Upgrades (TRU), slashing journey times, setting the foundations for Northern PowerHouse Rail and reducing carbon emissions by up to 87,000 tons per year.  The increase in funding, from £2.9bn to more than £9bn, is set to strengthen TRU and Northern PowerHouse Rail transforming an already ambitious project to a:- 'gold standard' and delivering on the Government's priority of Levelling Up the country.  The full route will be fitted with the latest technology, from complete electrification and full digital signalling, to increased capacity along the route for passenger and freight services between Huddersfield and Westtown in Dewsbury, doubling tracks from 2 to  4.  A further £959m of funding has been released to progress the next phase of TRU between Manchester and York. The almost £1bn will be spent on the remaining electrification of the railway between Stalybridge and Manchester and unlocking shorter journey times and trans-Pennine rail freight flows with electric trains between Manchester and Stalybridge, expected to hit the tracks around the middle of the decade.

Funding will also facilitate Northern Powerhouse Rail potentially doubling the amount of direct construction jobs from 2000 to up to 4,000 taking thousands of lorries off our roads and delivering better journeys, sooner for passengers across the North.  Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:- "Through our record breaking Integrated Rail Plan, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to redesign the railways and it's only right that we deliver this in line with the best quality technology at our disposal. By trebling the overall investment in the TRU, I'm ensuring the North is at the forefront of the Government's Levelling Up agenda and guaranteeing passengers gold standard services set to deliver greener, faster and reliable services through Northern Powerhouse Rail, electrification and additional train tracks."

Once complete, the TRU is expected to deliver multiple benefits, delivering an extra 2 passenger trains every hour and additional hourly freight slots. Upgrades are expected to service more reliable journeys and slash journey times by up to 40%. Northern Powerhouse Rail will be fully electrified, improving the local environment and air quality across the North. The TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU), announced in November as part of the Integrated Rail Plan, will be hitting the tracks from 2025 - boosting economic growth and creating local skilled jobs.

Letter to the Editor:- "Thomas Black, Head of Major Giving and Partnerships at Mary's Meals"

"DEAR Editor, As we approach the International Day of Friendship, on 30 July 2022, Mary's Meals is celebrating heart warming stories of hope and camaraderie from around the world. Mary's Meals is a charity that serves nutritious School meals in 20 of the world's poorest countries. The promise of a good meal attracts hungry children into the classroom where, instead of working or looking for food, they can gain an education. As your readers will know, the classroom is also where lifelong friendships are made. Friendships like that of Fridah and Annette, from Zambia. Fridah's life changed forever when she fell ill with an undiagnosed illness, losing all ability to move and communicate. Luckily, she has a wonderful friend in Annette. The 2 girls attend School together, where they eat Mary's Meals. Despite the challenges she faces, Fridah is determined to get an education. She uses her toes to write and turn the pages of her books. Fridah dreams of becoming a professional footballer when she is older. With our nutritious School meals giving her the energy to learn and play, and a good friend like Annette by her side, we hope she will achieve her dream. It costs just 8p a day to feed a child with Mary's Meals, meaning every donation; no matter how small; will make an enormous difference. For more information, please visit:- MarysMeals.Org.UK." Thomas Black, Head of major giving and partnerships, Mary's Meals.

Our biggest resource

CARE England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has called for adult social care staff to be placed on an equal footing with NHS staff.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:- "The adult social care workforce is our biggest resource. The lack of Government action has had an inevitable consequence on the nature of employment opportunities within the sector and has hampered providers' efforts to recruit and retain staff, as evidenced by the 52% increase in vacant posts in the sector over the past year. This has not only affected the overall financial attractiveness of the adult social care sector as an entity, but also providers' ability to compete with the NHS. As a first step, Care England suggests the Government accepts the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission for the 2023 rates, however, this increase must be properly funded. Simply applying National Living Wage inflation without appropriate funding undermines the ability of providers to aid workforce pressures, especially given the fact that providers are having to pay increases above the National Living Wage annual uplifts as a means of recruiting and retaining staff."

The UK Government has accepted the recommendations from the independent NHS pay review bodies in full - GOV.UK.

All NHS staff under the remit of this year's pay review will receive a pay rise. Over one million staff under the Agenda for Change contract, including Nurses, paramedics and midwives, will benefit from a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year backdated to April 2022. This is on top of the 3% pay rise they received last year, despite a wider public sector pay pause.

This means that the lowest earners, such as porters and cleaners, will see a 9.3% increase in their basic pay this year, compared with last year. The average basic pay for Nurses will increase from around £35,600 as of March 2022 to around £37,000 and the basic pay for newly qualified Nurses will increase by 5.5%, from £25,655 last year to £27,055.

Martin Green continues:- "Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments have provided bonuses for social care staff in recognition of their heroic efforts throughout the Covid19 Pandemic. Care England would implore the English Government to follow suit as a means of not only recognising the efforts of our staff but creating a greater sense of parity with NHS colleagues. The adult social care workforce needs to be seen for what it is; an exciting, challenging, professional career and we have to ensure that staff are remunerated accordingly."

Europe tour for Southport parl's 1st team

UNIVERSAL Rides' Senior Leadership Team has just returned from a week touring Europe's standout theme parks as Southport's park ramps up international scale development plans. The park's CEO Norman Wallis, a regular visitor to international attractions, said the trip had confirmed the park's strategy and its ambition to become the UK's 1st net zero carbon theme park.

Southport Pleasureland, owned by Mr Wallis' Universal Rides, is actively developing a range of experiences aimed at families, from Viking Golf to a new Dinosaur Park alongside a bigger and better portfolio of rides and entertainments.

Just some of the world leading parks visited by the team included:- Europa Park, Phantasialand and Dino Park International near Hannover. Top level meetings were held with Europa Park's Head of New Development and Masterplanning, Patrick Marx, and Franjo Dickmann, Managing Director of Dino Park International.

Europa Park stretches over 95 hectares and features 6 hotels, a camping ground and a movie theatre. The park attracts around 5.75 million visitors a year.

Germany's Dino Park largest scientific adventure and theme park and offers visitors the chance to get closer to 230 life size dinosaur reconstructions, while Phantasialand offers multiple:- 'fantastic world' immersive experiences and a choice of hotels.

Universal Rides plans world class, phased expansion at the Southport park, with sustainability goals and family values at its heart.


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