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Marcus Rashford warns prime minister free school meals ‘is not the end of it’

Well done Marcus!

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Marcus Rashford’s campaign to extend children’s free school meals throughout summer holidays was a success, after causing Boris Johnson to do u-turn.

The 22-year-old Man United star has now been praised by Boris Johnson for his highly personal campaign, which has forced the government to change its policy.

The government announced on Tuesday a one-off campaign to feed 1.3million children in England over the six-week summer period, with £120 million in funds.

Marcus Rashford’s social media campaign received huge backing from celebrities and football clubs, but Rashford says it’s ‘not the end of it’.

Кирилл Венедиктов / Wikimedia

In an interview with BBC Breakfast, Rashford said he was ‘shocked’ by the decision, adding: “It’s a big decision for someone to make and I’m just grateful that the Prime Minister did change his decision and he understood.

“I spoke to him and thanked him for that. It’s a nice feeling but I’m just happy that people’s lives, and people’s summers especially, have been changed for the better.”

But Rashford went on to explain that people struggle ‘all year round’, saying: “I think this is only going to be successful throughout the summer period so we’ve bought ourselves six weeks of time now to plan and figure out what’s next and keep taking steps forward”.

Rashford wrote an open letter to the government on Monday, asking them to reverse the decision on not awarding free school meal vouchers to vulnerable children outside of term time. 

Amid the pressure, the Government said it would provide a Covid Summer Food Fund to help those families that face ‘unprecedented situation’ over the holidays. 

When talking about his phone call with Boris Johnson, Rashford said they ‘understood each other’ and that it was ‘a nice conversation to have with him’ 

Rashford said: “He was just grateful that someone had an opinion and shared it with people.

“Being that voice for people who didn’t really have the platform to speak out as much as they would like to.”

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Rashford added: “I don’t want this to be the end of it because I think there are more steps that need to be taken, so we just need to analyse the response.

“Things like data in these type of topics are very important, and it is something that I wasn’t aware of beforehand, and now that I am aware of that I’ll definitely be watching that closely and seeing the response and how people cope with the situation, how it changes their lives for the better or the problems they might face with the system.

“So there are a lot of things that could change in the future and beyond this campaign.”

The payment for the free school dinner extension is expected to be in the form of a one-off six-week voucher, given to eligible families at the end of the term to use in supermarkets.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson said the vouchers will amount to £15 per week per child and that 1.3 million children will be eligible.

The government made it clear the scheme will not continue beyond the summer. 

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Greater Manchester town officially named one of the happiest places to live in UK

Well-deserved?

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A Greater Manchester town has been named among the 20 happiest places to live in the UK, alongside a couple of other North West spots.

Altrincham was placed in the top 20 of Britain’s happiest places to live in an annual survey, coming in at number 17 in Rightmove’s survey.

St Ives, a seaside town in Cornwall, took the number one spot, while Galashiels in Scotland came in a respectable second.

Anthony O’Neil / Geograph

Other North West areas in the top 20 were Northwich (16) and Macclesfield (18).

Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index asked more than 21,000 people their thoughts on where they live.

Each area is ranked on factors like whether people feel there is a sense of belonging, local amenities, whether there is a community spirit and the proximity to green spaces.

Anthony O’Neil / Geograph

According to Rightmove, these are Britain’s happiest places to live in 2022 (including the average house price and average asking monthly rental price):

1) St Ives, South West – £523,731, £1,152

2) Galashiels, Scotland – £153,546, £530

3) Woodbridge, East of England – £481,978, £1,196

4) Hexham, North East – £262,265, £810

5) Perth, Scotland – £179,410, £812

6) Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber – £381,124, £1,327

7) Anglesey, Wales – £324,048, £766

8) Bury St Edmunds, East of England – £334,160, £1,368

9) Stirling, Scotland – £197,075, £990

10) Cirencester, South West, £382,065 – £1,331

11) Richmond-upon-Thames, London – £1,153,347, £3,931

12) Falmouth, South West – £373,752, £1,289

13) Monmouth, Wales – £331,844, £1,104

14) Leamington Spa, West Midlands – £383,553, £1,274

15) Worcester, West Midlands – £286,250, £1,059

16) Northwich, North West – £246,995, £942

17) Altrincham, North West – £615,246, £2,297

18) Macclesfield, North West – £292,078, £1,146

19) Newbury, South East – £380,842, £1,364

20) Llandudno, Wales – £260,245, £760

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Northern to start using new technology to catch train fare dodgers

‘This technology will be invaluable for our gate line and revenue protection colleagues’

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Northern has announced that they will be bringing in some brand new technology to catch train fare dodgers.

Britain’s second largest train operator is planning to install the system within station barriers at ‘known hotspots’, the BBC reports.

The technology will automatically detect whether a ticket is valid, and alert rail staff for any additional checks, or if the customer has the right railcard.

Jon David Houghton / Wikimedia Commons

According to Northern, around 180 fare dodgers were caught in a single day when they trialled the system at Manchester Victoria in November.

Northern’s Customer and Commercial Director Mark Powles said: “This technology will be invaluable for our gate line and revenue protection colleagues whose job it is to ensure ticket checks are carried out quickly and efficiently.

“Unfortunately, we know that a small minority of customers try to exploit the automated nature of barrier checks to travel on tickets they know they’re not eligible to use.”

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Powles added that the kit was ‘very easy’ to install, saying it could be: “deployed to known hotspots across the whole network to help tackle this fraudulent activity”.

The Department for Transport confirmed last month that anyone travelling on a train without a ticket can be fined £100 from January 23rd, rising from £20. 

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Man, 33, charged following attempted kidnapping of schoolgirl

A 33-year-old has been arrested and charged

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Police have charged a man, following the release of CCTV footage featuring a car used in three attempted kidnappings around Salford.

A man driving the vehicle attempted to force a 15-year-old girl into the car at a bus stop in Monton on Monday, November 21st.

Detectives also believe the same man tried to abduct another girl earlier that same day, as well as a third teenager five days previous.

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Officers have confirmed that Sean Anthony Gillings (06/09/1989) of no fixed abode has been charged, following an appeal to the public.

This appeal resulted in the arrest of 33-year-old Gillings, who was then questioned and charged on Tuesday November 29th.

He also remains on bail for the other two attempt kidnaps, while further investigations are ongoing.

Gillings was remanded in custody yesterday, Wednesday November 30th, to appear at Manchester Crown Square Court on Wednesday January 4th 2023.

Police previously confirmed that a 33-year-old man was arrested by officers on Monday November 28th, on suspicion of three counts of attempted kidnap.

According to Greater Manchester Police, the victims have been left ‘extremely shaken up’.

Officers identified the vehicle in the footage as a black Vauxhall Astra with a silver cover on the driver’s side wing mirror.

Greater Manchester Police

Detective Inspector Chris Horsfield, of GMP’s Salford CID, previously said: “Although we have made this arrest, we are still very much looking to speak to anyone who may have information or dashcam footage, which could help us to establish the circumstances.

“We understand that the local community will be concerned but we are doing all we can to solve this investigation.

“I’d urge anyone who knows anything at all to please get in touch as soon as possible. In particular we are interested in the movements of a Black Vauxhall Astra 08 plate with a silver driver’s wing mirror cover; the passenger side is black.”

Police believe the incidents happened at the following times:

  • Liverpool Street, Salford, between Fitzwarren Street and Albion Way on November 16th, between 7:45-8:20pm
  • Mossfield Road and Ackworth Road, Swinton, on November 21st, between 8-9am
  • Rocky Lane, Monton Green and Monton High Street on November 21st, between 6-7pm

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