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.