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The rise of UKIP is a “wake-up call” for the three main political parties, Harriet Harman has said. With Nigel Farage’s party expected to make major gains in local elections held today, Labour’s deputy leader said the Eurosceptic party r... Continue to article
Ivan Lewis said the way the Government handled the announcement to end international aid to South Africa was “appalling”. “It certainly wasn’t out of the blue that there’s been an ongoing discussion about the future relationship with Sou... Continue to article
DFID Press Release British international development assistance to countries prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters will in future focus on "disaster-proofing", International Development Secretary Justine Greening pledged today... Continue to article
The Department for International Development is “open to new ideas” about closer collaboration with the Ministry of Defence on aid spending, Justine Greening has said. Ms Greening’s comments mirror those of the Prime Minister, who said t... Continue to article
Justine Greening defended the Government's commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on international aid, and said ministers would ensure it was spent in a "smart, targeted" way. "I think at the end of the day this Government’s committed to reach... Continue to article
The Prime Minister’s suggestion that the aid budget could be spent on defence is an “act of desperation” to placate the “tea party tendency” in the Conservative party, Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary has said. Ivan Le... Continue to article
DFID press release British businesses have a key role to play in the economic development of low income countries, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said today. Speaking to an audience of business leaders and develo... Continue to article
Prime minister David Cameron will attend a PM Direct event to mark the start of National Apprenticeships Week in Buckinghamshire Business secretary Vince Cable attends a Barclays event timed to coincide with the start of National Apprent... Continue to article
WORDS: SAM MACRORY It’s overworked, badly supported and, most of the time, an utterly thankless task. Her Majesty’s Opposition may enjoy a royal stamp of approval, but the day job is anything but majestic. Rare are the occasions when a Sha... Continue to article
A deal that would see Virgin Trains losing the West Coast mainline franchise could be signed as early as 29 August, a Department for Transport spokesman has indicated. Labour MP Louise Ellman, who also chairs the Transport Committee, has written to Transport Secretary Justine Greening asking for "greater transparency" and investigation of "a number of concerns" over the deal. Over 100,000 people signed an e-petition calling for reconsideration of the decision to award the West Coast mainline rail franchise to FirstGroup. The petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening will urge companies to make car insurance cheaper for young motorists.
At a Whitehall summit Ms Greening will say young British drivers are among the safest in the world and will tell insurers to use black boxes which monitor speed, acceleration, braking and cornering to prove a driver is not reckless behind the wheel. Insurance premiums can top £3,000 a year for under-25s.
Speaking this morning to Sky News, the Transport Secretary said the Government wanted to make sure motoring was kept affordable: "That is why we have already passed laws in Parliament to take some of the exuberant legal costs out of the insurance system. I want to look today at how we can go further. I think it is about looking across the piece at how we can work with motorists."
The AA has said that over the past two years, claims for whiplash injury contributed to the biggest car insurance premium increases ever recorded.
Justine Greening has described the HS2 rail link, which she is expected to be given the green light this week, as an "incredibly important project" with the potential to "transform" Britain's rail network. Speaking to the Sunday Times, the Transport Secretary insisted she had listened to the concerns of people affected, but added that "there comes a time when it [the railway] is simply full".
Justine Greening has insisted the Government is "passionate" about bringing the High Speed 2 project to fruition.
The Transport Secretary this morning told the Today programme: "We are passionate about getting on with High Speed 2. We know it’s badly needed, I know that we need it done in time for when that capacity crunch comes in the mid-2020s.
"But at the same time, I really understand that there will be many communities it passes through that it affects, and that’s why I’ve worked very, very hard to understand what those effects will be and then look at how we can mitigate them and how we can work with those communities fairly."
The Government is taking a "Ronseal approach" to railway reform, according to the Transport Secretary.
Delivering a command statement on the future of the rail industry, Justine Greening told the Commons this afternoon that efficiency savings would create an "efficient, effective and affordable" system in the interests of passengers and taxpayers.
The Government is calling on train companies and Network Rail to close a £3.5bn annual "efficiency gap" identified by rail expert Sir Roy McNulty, whose consultation was commissioned by the last Labour government.
Ms Greening said: "I’ve taken the Ronseal approach – this strategy will do what it says on the tin, put the customer first."
She also offered a challenge to train companies, saying they can only compete for future contracts if "cost issues are addressed".
Ms Greening emphasised the cost of not acting now. "If we duck the reform challenge then it won't just be rail users and the public purse that pays the price, the rail industry and the wider economy will suffer too."
Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle was scathing in response, saying the reforms would allow train companies to "hike fares, cut services, booking offices and frontline staff".
She said there were "deep alliances" between train companies and Network Rail and warned of an increasingly "fragmented" system with private companies managing different sections of the network.
RMT union boss Bob Crow promised industrial action if the Government goes ahead with cuts to rail staff.
He told Sky News: "We don’t believe that at a time when there’s more people using the railways, than they have done for the last 80 years, there’s a necessity to cut back on staffing. Our line in the sand is pretty simple – we’re not going to accept cuts to our members’ terms and conditions and if they try to make anybody compulsorily redundant on the railways we will ballot for strike action."
The clearest sign yet that the controversial HS2 rail link will be approved was given this morning with a review carried out by Network Rail concluding that the alternative options would mean more overcrowding, works and delays.
The report comes after key supporters of the project wrote to national newspapers yesterday urging the Government to back HS2.
Meanwhile, a number of Tory MPs as well as 18 Local Authorities have signalled their opposition against the plans, arguing that the Government "has not made the business case for the project".
01/05/2013 on Today, BBC Radio 4
12/03/2013 on World at One, BBC Radio 4
Summaries and transcripts from TV and radio
5 hours ago on Newsnight, BBC2
5 hours ago on Newsnight, BBC 2
21/05/2013 on Channel 4 News