HS2 go-ahead

The Week Middle East - - News -

The Gov­ern­ment is push­ing ahead with the plans for HS2, the con­tro­ver­sial high-speed train line be­tween London and the North. Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling said that the sec­ond phase of the £56bn project will go ahead in full, end­ing spec­u­la­tion that it would be scaled back. He con­firmed the route – one branch will go from Birm­ing­ham to Leeds, the other from Crewe to Manch­ester – and said he felt “des­per­ately sorry” for the res­i­dents af­fected. The bill to se­cure the first phase, from London to Birm­ing­ham, is ex­pected to go through Par­lia­ment this au­tumn, with work be­gin­ning next year.

Prison of­fi­cers’ protest

Thou­sands of prison of­fi­cers re­turned to work this week af­ter the High Court or­dered them to end a wild­cat strike. It is il­le­gal for of­fi­cers to strike, but the Prison Of­fi­cers As­so­ci­a­tion di­rected its mem­bers to stop work­ing fol­low­ing the break­down of talks with the Gov­ern­ment over safety con­cerns. With only emer­gency cover in place, pris­on­ers were locked in their cells and tri­als had to be post­poned. The union says its mem­bers are fac­ing a ris­ing tide of vi­o­lence in jails: at­tacks on staff rose 43% in the year to June.

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