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News Report Page 6 of 8
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Nearly 1 in 10 Brits find happiness in ditching the daily commute

8% UK adults said saving money on commuting during the Covid19 lockdown makes them happy. But as lockdown restrictions are tightened once more with home working encouraged, how much could they save if they didn't ever have to return to the office? With greater emphasis again placed on working from home instead of the office, Hitachi Personal Finance reveals the Cities that are happiest ditching their daily commuting, revealing how much they potentially save working from home.

The top 5 Cities that found happiness in being able to save money and time by not commuting are:-

 Sheffield (15%)

 Belfast & Birmingham (11%)

 Liverpool & Newcastle (10%)

 Leeds (9%)

 London (8%)

Despite saving less than their counterparts in some other Cities, those in Sheffield are happiest scrapping their commute, avoiding a cost of ₤89³ per month on travelling to and from the office. Over the average career length (47 to years), people in Sheffield can expect to have spent a whopping ₤50,196 on their daily commute.

Even though Brummie workers were the joint second happiest in the UK with being able to save money by working remotely, Birmingham offers the cheapest daily commute, with workers only spending on average ₤68² per month on travel. Over a worker's career, this totals ₤38,352 spent getting to and from work.

In comparison, 11% of those from Belfast also said saving money on their commute made them happy, but travel costs are considerably higher than in Birmingham, with workers in the City spending an average of ₤99 per month⁵ on travelling to work. This means those in Belfast spend a huge ₤17,484² more over their career by commuting than those in Birmingham.

Although 10% of those in Liverpool and Newcastle said they find happiness during the pandemic by saving on their daily commute, Geordies spend considerably more; on average ₤140 a month, compared to Liverpudlians who spend ₤118 a month. This means over their entire careers, Geordies spend nearly ₤12,408 more getting to the office.

Commuters in Leeds can expect to incur higher travelling costs than their Yorkshire counterparts in Sheffield, spending ₤92,496² over their career on average. According to rail analysis, commuters with season tickets could be paying as much as ₤1,000 more than the price in 2010 after a recent increase in fares. With these costs set to continue to rise, regular users of public transport can expect to pay even more in the coming years.

Despite Londoners spending the most on commuting a month, an average of ₤397, with 8% saying that saving money on commuting and socialising brought them happiness during lockdown. However, 17% of City dwellers have been able to pay back debt using the money they've saved and a whopping 67% have also been able to add to their savings pots. Over a 47 year career, Londoners can expect to have spent a staggering ₤223,906 on commuting, more than any other City.

Commenting on the findings, Vincent Reboul, Managing Director at Hitachi Personal Finance, says:- "Whilst restrictions on many of the day to day things we enjoy has been detrimental to the way we live our lives, impacting our happiness and wellbeing, there has been one notable upside. Working from home and the associated cost savings made, combined with the time saved by ditching the daily commute has been a notable bright spot and source of happiness for a significant number of people. It's interesting to see that Sheffield tops the list of the number of people who said saving time and money by not commuting made them happy, as this research reveals it is actually 1 of the cheapest Cities to commute to. On the other hand, only 8% of Londoners said the savings made them happy despite having by far the most expensive commuting costs in the country. Cities in the North of England, including Sheffield, dominate the list of places where commuters are most happy to be able to ditch their daily commute. This may partly reflect the relatively poor infrastructure of public transport in the North of the country leading to delays and overcrowding from underinvestment of public transport in the Region. With greater emphasis placed on working from home again as restrictions on our movements are tightened, commuters in major towns and Cities may be hoping to adapt their lifestyle in the longer term. Many will seek a more blended approach in future, splitting their time working in the office and remotely appreciating the quality of life working from home brings whilst also making cost savings enabling their money to go further."

To find out more about what brings us the most happiness, please visit:- HitachiPersonalFinance.Co.UK

UK embraces hydrogen fuelled future as transport hub and train announced

THE 1st ever hydrogen powered train have run on the UK mainline, on 30 September 2020, in a big step forward towards the UK's net zero targets, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced, visiting the start of trials in Warwickshire. The trials of the train, known as HydroFLEX, which have been supported with a ₤750,000 grant from the Department for Transport, follow almost 2 years' development work and more than ₤1million of investment by both Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham.

Unlike diesel trains, hydrogen powered trains do not emit harmful gases, instead using hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, water and heat. The ground breaking technology behind the trains will also be available by 2023 to retrofit current in service trains to hydrogen helping decarbonise the rail network and make rail journeys greener and more efficient.

The Transport Secretary also announced the ambition for Tees Valley to become a trailblazing Hydrogen Transport Hub. Bringing together representatives from academia, industry and Government to drive forward the UK's plans to embrace the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel could create hundreds of jobs while seeing the Region become a global leader in the green hydrogen sector. Tees Valley is perfectly placed to reap these benefits, following the development there of the world's largest versatile hydrogen refuelling facility made possible through Government funding.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:- "As we continue on our road to a green recovery, we know that to really harness the power of transport to improve our country; and to set a global gold standard; we must truly embed change. That's why I'm delighted that through our plans to build back better we are embracing the power of hydrogen and the more sustainable, greener forms of transport it will bring."

To kick start this exCiting development in Tees Valley, the DfT have commissioned a masterplan to understand the feasibility of the hub and how it can accelerate the UK's ambitions in Hydrogen. The masterplan, expected to be published in January, will pave the way for exploring how green hydrogen could power buses, HGV, rail, maritime and aviation transport across the UK. The aim would then be for the Region to kick on and become a global leader in industrial research on the subject of hydrogen as a fuel as well as an R&D hub for hydrogen transport more generally, attracting hundreds of jobs and boosting the local economy in the process.

Through our ₤23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme, the plans announced today also include ₤6.3m of funding for a green hydrogen refuelling station and 19 hydrogenpowered refuse vehicles in Glasgow, a world 1st for the size of the fleet. This will give a post-Covid boost to local economies through the creation of green jobs while also decarbonising the transport network.

The next stages of HydroFLEX are already well underway, with the University of Birmingham developing a hydrogen and battery powered module that can be fitted underneath the train, which will allow for more space for passengers in the train's carriage.

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said:- "Porterbrook is committed to innovation and the delivery of a carbon neutral and sustainable railway. Today's mainline testing of HydroFLEX achieves another important milestone on this journey. I'm also delighted to be able to announce our intention to start producing HydroFLEX trains, creating the world's 1st electric and hydrogen powered bi-mode rolling stock, as well as generating significant opportunities for the UK supply chain. The department is developing even more ways to slash emissions across transport, as work to create the Transport Decarbonisation Plan continues. The plan will develop a 1st of a kind approach to decarbonise every mode of transport and is due to be published before the end of this year."

Julian David, techUK's CEO said:- "The announcement today on the further progress of the Hydrogen for Transport Programme is a demonstration of the UK Government's commitment to developing a hydrogen infrastructure as part of its efforts to decarbonise transport and encourage the shift to zero emission vehicles. With the growing demand to switch to a net zero economy, the advancement of R&D means we can further demonstrate this innovative technology for road, rail, and freight and logistics as an efficient and economic solution. techUK is excited to work together with the tech community and the Government to spearhead the market offering for green hydrogen."

If this project is successful, it could see hydrogen powered trains powering up and down between Birmingham and Liverpool, along with other places, including helping to carry fright to and from the Port of Liverpool!

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