Rail firms 'consider' railcard for 26 to 30-year-olds

young people on trainImage copyright Getty Images

Over four million young people in the UK could be set to benefit from a new railcard for 26 to 30 year-olds.

The website MoneySavingExpert (MSE) said it had seen documents from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which owns the National Rail brand, confirming a rollout of the card next year.

The current 16-to-25 railcard offers discounts of up to a third off fares.

MSE said that Greater Anglia was due to start trialling the scheme in the east of England in December.

The company runs services in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

However, neither the RDG nor Greater Anglia have commented on the plans.

''We can't comment on this at the moment, but we are always carrying out research and working with the train companies to develop new offers that make leisure travel easier, and better value for money," said a spokesperson for the RDG.

Regulated rail fares are due to go up by 3.6% from January.

'Great news'

MSE said it understood that 10,000 of the 26-to-30 railcards would initially be available to passengers in the Greater Anglia region, with more to follow next year.

And it pointed to what appeared to be an internal RDG memo to staff, circulated last month.

The memo said the railcard plan "goes national in early 2018".

The document suggested the card would be in digital form only and available via an app.

Image copyright Getty Images

"This is a trial.We still don't have full details and a national rollout hasn't yet been officially confirmed, so it's early days," said Steve Nowottny, news and features editor at MoneySavingExpert.com.

"But on the face of it, this is great news for passengers who are a little too long in the tooth for the 16-25 Railcard.If the trial's successful, it'll mean you'll now be able to benefit from discounted fares until your 31st birthday."

MSE said anyone who spent more than £90 a year on rail travel would benefit from having a railcard....

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Government borrowing at lowest September level for 10 years

wad of £20Image copyright Getty Images

Britain saw its smallest budget deficit for any September in the last 10 years, according to official figures.

Last month's deficit stood at £5.902bn, down almost 11% compared with the same month last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.[1]

With many economists having forecast a deficit of about £6.5bn, the news will be a boost for Chancellor Philip Hammond ahead of next month's Budget.

The deficit for August was also revised down by about £1bn to £4.716bn

September's figures marked the third straight month in which UK public finances were better than analysts had forecast.

The ONS said public sector net debt, excluding state-owned banks, had increased by £145.2bn since September last year to £1,785.3bn, equivalent to 87.2% of gross domestic product.

Spending cuts

The lower borrowing in September was helped by stronger receipts from VAT, income and the stamp duty property tax, the ONS said, although corporation tax revenues were down slightly on a year ago.

However, Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said lower borrowing was still predominantly driven by spending cuts, not a rebound in tax receipts.

He said government spending rose by just 2.2% year-on-year in September, half the 4.4% increase anticipated by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which provides independent analysis on the UK's public finances.

"By contrast, tax receipts increased by just 3.4% year-over-year in September, only a touch above the OBR's 2.7% full-year expectation and below the 3.8% average of the first five months of the fiscal year," Mr Tombs said.

"The chancellor, therefore, is unlikely to soften the existing plans in next month's Budget enough to prevent the fiscal consolidation from intensifying next year," he said....

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FTSE 100 lifted by banks and miners

Trader in LondonImage copyright Getty Images

The London stock market opened higher, supported by banks and mining companies.

The benchmark FTSE 100[1] share index was 22.81 points higher at 7,545.85 in early trade.Barclays and Standard Chartered were both up by 1.7%.

Among the mining shares, Antofagasta rose 2.8% while Anglo American and Rio Tinto both added 1.6%.

Intercontinental Hotels Group slid 0.7% despite the Holiday Inn-owner reporting rising third-quarter revenues.

The company said that the key measure of revenue per available room, or RevPAR, rose 2.3% in the three months to September.

However, there was a big split between its performance in Europe and the Americas.In Europe, RevPAR jumped 7.1% as tourists returned to markets previously hit by terror attacks, but in the Americas it was up just 0.8% in a quarter affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.2% against the dollar at $1.3136 and up 0.2% against the euro at €1.1121....

References

  1. ^ FTSE 100 (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Nissan halts production in Japan over inspection concerns

Nissan's Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa bows in apologyImage copyright Getty Images Image caption Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa bows at a news conference announcing the recall

Nissan shares fell 2% on Friday after the firm suspended domestic production for two weeks over concerns with its inspection procedures.

The firm will stop production at its six Japanese plants to ensure they comply with safety regulations.

Earlier this month Nissan recalled 1.2m cars[1] after uncertified inspectors conducted checks on domestic models.

Japan's Transport Minister, Keiichi Ishii, said it was unclear how long the misconduct had been going on.

His comments were in response to a report by national broadcaster NHK, which said the practice had been going on for 20 years.

Nissan has declined to directly confirm or deny the NHK report.

At a press conference on Thursday, however, Nissan's chief executive Hiroto Saikawa said the company's procedure for certifying vehicle inspection staff had not changed for two decades.

Checks by uncertified technicians continued even after Nissan had said it had strengthened its inspection processes, when the issue first came to light late last month.

Nissan will continue to produce vehicles for export, as the certification process for final inspections does not apply to vehicles shipped overseas.

The firm, which is Japan's second-largest carmaker, produced roughly 79,300 passenger and commercial vehicles in Japan in August, including 27,600 for the domestic market.

The issue has tarnished Nissan's brand, and along with scandals at Kobe Steel[2] and Takata Airbags[3], could have an impact on Japan's reputation for quality....

References

  1. ^ recalled 1.2m cars (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ Kobe Steel (www.bbc.co.uk)
  3. ^ Takata Airbags (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Union seeks assurances on Royal Navy ship orders

Type 26 frigateImage copyright BAE Image caption Work on the new Type 26 frigates started at the Clyde yards earlier this year

Union representatives have said they hope to speak to Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon about the future of Scottish shipbuilding.

Sir Michael is to visit two shipyards on the Clyde later.

Unite senior shop steward at BAE Systems, Duncan McPhee, said he was "not sure" if he could trust government promises on future orders.

Mr Fallon said future work could underpin a "renaissance in UK shipbuilding".

The union believes the UK government has reduced its commitment to building type 31e warships on the Clyde.

Mr McPhee said:"The national shipbuilding strategy has changed.This work should have been concentrated in Glasgow.

"It should have been 13 frigates.Now it is down to eight.

"I'm not sure if we can trust them any more."

Offshore patrol vessel

Sir Michael is scheduled to visit BAE Systems' Scotstoun yard in Glasgow, where his wife Lady Wendy Fallon will officially name an offshore patrol vessel HMS Medway.

It is one of a fleet of five being built under contracts the MoD said were worth £626m.

Later the defence secretary will travel to the Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow.

Mr McPhee added:"We will be at the naming ceremony and will hope to make representations.

"We will have discussions with politicians of all parties.Our main concern is the type 31s."

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Sir Michael said Scottish engineers "will relish" the chance to compete for work

Sir Michael is making a tour of all the UK's major shipyards ahead of industry proposals for the new type of Royal Navy frigate.

He has already visited Cammell Laird shipyard in Merseyside, and Harland and Wolff in Belfast.

He said the first batch of type 31e ships could be built in blocks across several shipyards before assembly at a central hub.

These ships and eight new type 26 frigates being built at Scotstoun are intended to replace ageing vessels in the Royal Navy fleet.

Export market

Speaking ahead of his visit to the Clyde, Sir Michael said:"With our cutting-edge Type 26 frigates already being built on the Clyde, I know Scottish skilled engineers will relish the chance to compete to build a brand-new class of warships for the growing Royal Navy.

"We want to make the most of the renaissance in UK shipbuilding, delivering the latest ships that will help protect our nation and our interests across the world."

The type 31e has been designed, in part, with the export market in mind.

The UK government has said it will work with industry to "provide the certainty and support" needed for it to become internationally competitive.

The UK's approach to Royal Navy procurement has been strongly criticised by the SNP.

Defence spokesman Stewart McDonald MP said:"We have the skills, the expertise, the infrastructure in Scotland.But what we have also had is years of promises from Westminster that have been broken."

The formal procurement competition for the new frigates will open in the new year....

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