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Rail fares set to rise again in January

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Rail users in the UK are expected to be hit by a further rise in ticket prices which will come into effect next year.

The increase will be based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for July which will be announced on Wednesday.

Analysts expect the figure to be around 2.8%, likely to lead to an increase of more than £100 in the annual cost of getting to work for many commuters.

Passenger groups have urged a change in the way ticket prices are calculated.

The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has repeatedly said the most widely watched and used measure of inflation, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), should be used instead of RPI.

Last month this was 2% and it is typically lower than the RPI rate of inflation.

CBT chief executive Darren Shirley said the expected ticket price rises were “exorbitant”.

“The government should commit now to January’s fares rise being linked to CPI,” he added.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “It’s tempting to suggest fares should never rise. However, the truth is that if we stop investing in our railway then we will never see it improved.”

The TUC trade union renewed its call for the railway to be renationalised, arguing it would lead to lower ticket prices.

“We’re already paying the highest ticket prices in Europe to travel on overcrowded and understaffed trains.

“The number one priority should be running a world-class railway service, not subsidising private train companies,” said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.

More train delays

At the start of this year, train fares went up by an average of 3.1% in England and Wales and 2.8% in Scotland.

The rise in England and Wales – the highest since January 2013 – meant the price of some annual season tickets rose by more than £100.

In Scotland, peak-time season tickets and anytime day tickets became 3.2% more expensive, while the capped increase of off-peak fares was 2.2%.

Rail passengers have had to endure more delays on the network this year.

Last week was particularly bad, with thousands of people affected by a signal failure, which led to the suspension of all services out of London Euston, on Thursday.

And then trains were also affected in Friday’s power cut, with many stranded across the network

Delays also happened during July’s heatwave, while in January London Overground commuters were given a month’s free travel after delays to the delivery of new electric trains.

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T20 Blast: Essex and Hampshire record needed wins

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Ravi Bopara

Essex recorded an exciting T20 Blast victory at South Group leaders Sussex, while Hampshire cruised past Middlesex.

The visitors hit 168-5 in their 20 overs, with Dan Lawrence (59*) and Ravi Bopara (45) both hitting good scores.

The hosts were reduced to 25-3 in the fourth over before David Weise (66) got them back in contention, only for them to fall nine runs short.

Meanwhile, Hampshire reached Middlesex’s 128 inside 15 overs to boost their quarter-final prospects.

The hosts never really got going, with England One-Day skipper Eoin Morgan making 20 from 17 balls before being caught by James Fuller off the bowling of Liam Dawson.

James Vince’s 69 from 42 balls, including 11 fours, helped the visitors to a fourth win of the group stage.

Despite slipping to a fourth defeat of the group stage, Middlesex remain third with three games to play.

Sharks slip to surprise defeat

Sussex had only lost once in the T20 Blast this season prior to Thursday’s defeat.

Bopara and Lawrence, who had extended his contract with the county earlier on Thursday, batted excellently to move Essex from 84-4 to 166-5 before the former was caught brilliantly on the boundary by Chris Jordan in the final over.

Weise looked to be steering Sussex to what had seemed like an unlikely win but when he was trapped lbw by a slower ball from Simon Harmer (2-19) their hopes faded and were all but gone when Jordan (19) was caught by Bopara off the bowling of Mohammad Amir (4-29).

Essex visit Hampshire on Sunday in a game that neither side can afford to lose if they are to progress.

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Channel migrants: Children among group on Sussex beach

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Twenty-four migrants – including four children – were detained by police after landing on a Sussex beach.

The group, who travelled by boat to Winchelsea Beach, were handed over to Border Force, Sussex Police said.

A further two boats carrying a total of 19 adults, ten children and a baby were picked up by French authorities attempting to cross the Channel.

At least 869 people, including more than 80 children, have crossed the Channel in small boats this year.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.

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Sussex company bookkeeper jailed for £117k fraud

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A woman who stole nearly £117,000 from a business has been jailed.

Lynn Boakes was hired as a bookkeeper at a steel company in West Sussex in 2013 and was responsible for the payroll.

The 47-year-old began taking regular sick days towards the end of 2016 despite posts on social media showing her shopping or on holiday.

A judge at Hove Crown Court jailed Boakes, of Sea Lane, Pagham, for three years.

The company’s director began searching archive payroll documents and discovered that between October 2014 and April 2017 Boakes overpaid herself by a total of £13,462.

Further investigation discovered she had also diverted £103,450.26 of her employer’s funds into her personal bank account that had been disguised by using a fake company name.

Boakes was immediately suspended from the company, the director informed Sussex Police and her work computer was seized.

On this computer a job reference for a job application for her husband was found.

The reference falsely stated David Boakes, 54, had worked for the steel company for two years and it had been signed by a fake employee ‘Janet Young’ – Boakes’s actual middle and maiden names.

Boakes pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud in July while her husband admitted one charge of fraud and was given a conditional discharge.

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