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Travelling to India, Jamaica or Brazil from Manchester is cheaper than a train from Piccadilly to London Euston

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham compared the flight prices this morning

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Andy Burnham has compared return flights to popular holiday destinations to highlight the outrageous cost of UK train travel.

The mayor took to Twitter this morning to share a list of return flight prices from Manchester Airport to India, Jamaica, Brazil and Ivory Coast, all of which fell short of £400pp. 

At the bottom of his list, however, was a return train journey from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston which, remarkably, came out as the most expensive trip.

While flights to India, Jamaica, Brazil, and Ivory Coast cost £343, £345, £325 and £319 retrospectively, a return train journey to London will set a passenger back a massive £369.

Burnham followed up his tweet with a screenshot of his ticket, which showed that the £369 ‘anytime return’ was actually the cheapest option. 

In a recent op ed for the Evening Standard, Burnham slammed the UK’s train system as ‘extortionate madness’, pointing out that ‘full control’ is needed to reduce fare prices.

He wrote: “With the country in the clutches of a simultaneous cost-of-living and climate crisis, we won’t get the railway we need until we retake control and massively reduce fares.

“On today’s prices, it is cheaper to book a return flight from Manchester to India, Jamaica, Brazil or the Ivory Cost than it is to take a two-hour return rail journey to our capital city.

“For as long as train tickets cost more than plane tickets, the economics of transport in the UK will be in entirely the wrong place when it comes to facing up the climate crisis. But the truth is it unlikely to change any time soon.”

This comes just days after the mayor criticised the government’s ‘Great British Rail Sale‘, which will see fares for journeys across the country be slashed by up to half throughout April and May.

The first-of-its-kind sale is expected to bring journeys from Manchester to Newcastle down from £20.60 to £10.30, London to Edinburgh services from £44 to £22, and York to Leeds journeys from £5.60 to £2.80.

Government officials said half-price rail tickets are just ‘one of the ways’ it is helping to support families with the cost of living crisis, following its announcement of council tax discounts and tax cuts.

In a statement, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “For the first time ever, operators across the rail industry are coming together to help passengers facing rising costs of living by offering up to 50% off more than a million tickets on journeys across Britain.

“There’s no better time to visit friends, family or just explore our great country, so book your tickets today.”

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Ikea ‘collect near you’ hubs to launch in several Greater Manchester Tescos

It’s the retailer collab we didn’t know we needed…

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Steve Webel / Flickr & Tesco PLC / Flickr

A number of Tesco supermarkets in Greater Manchester are set to host Ikea ‘collect near you’ points as part of an ‘exciting’ new pilot.

Tesco Extra Stockport and Tesco Extra Bolton Horwich will both see IKEA ‘collect near you’ bays installed in their car parks in an attempt to reduce delivery costs from the furniture retailer.

Customers will be able to meet with a delivery driver at the designated collection bays to pick up their orders in a move that IKEA says will ‘make it easier than ever’ to shop with them.

Seven Tesco stores in total have been selected for the collaboration’s initial rollout, including sites in Liverpool, Blackburn, and Doncaster.

Manchester | Stores - IKEA

Ikea

Tesco Blackburn will be the first supermarket to launch the trial next month on October 10th, with other sites set to follow later this year.

Tesco is set to run the trial for an initial period of six months.

An Ikea spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Tesco to test and trial more convenient, accessible and affordable collection services in the UK.

“The pilot will launch in Bolton and Stockport later this year. While we are unable to share exact dates at the moment, we will be sure to share further details in the coming months.”

Retail analyst Natalie Berg named the collaboration as ‘interesting’, writing on Twitter: “Really interesting IKEA/Tesco collab. Ikea gets the need to become more accessible (despite the ££) and imagine more pressing now w/ consumers shying away from big-ticket buys and consolidating trips.”

However, she added that customers will still need to spend £200 for the ‘free’ collection.

The full list of trial sites is:

  • Tesco Blackburn Superstore.
  • Tesco Doncaster Extra.
  • Tesco Cambridge Newmarket Road Superstore.
  • Tesco Dereham Extra.
  • Tesco Bolton Horwich Extra.
  • Tesco Stockport Extra.
  • Tesco Liverpool Old Swan Superstore.

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Toys ‘R’ Us relaunches in the UK just in time for Christmas

Shoppers can browse a selection of over 14,000 toys from 100 suppliers

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Toys ‘R’ Us has officially relaunched its UK website with thousands of toys and gadgets up for grabs.

The online shop has over 14,000 toys from over 100 suppliers for sale, including toys by Lego, Marvel, Star Wars, Crayola and Play-Doh.

Free delivery is available for all orders over £20, while next-day delivery is up for grabs on orders placed before 6pm.

A message on the website reads: “We’re back! We can’t wait to develop and grow with you and your loved ones, over the coming weeks, months and years!”

The store has also re-opened its sister site Babies ‘R’ Us, which sells everything from pushchairs, prams, children’s clothing and baby carriers.

This news comes nearly a year after the retailer initially announced it would be returning to the high street – in October 2021, its parent firm signed a long-term exclusive licence agreement to relaunch the stores across the UK from 2022 onwards.

After struggling to keep up with the new age of online shopping, Toys ‘R’ Us was forced to close all of its UK and US stores back in 2018, much to the dismay of those who grew up with the retailer throughout the 2000s. 

Toys ‘R’ Us Australia chief executive Louis Mittoni, who has spearheading the UK launch, said in a statement at the time: “I’m very excited to welcome over 100 years of retailing experience in our new team, who will lead the relaunch our iconic brand back into the UK market in the next few months.

Flickr / Public Domain

“We have an amazing toy and baby buying team, which I believe is the best in the country.

“With this team now in place, we’re hitting the ground running and have been reaching out to the supply base to see with whom we can align on this amazing journey.”

Toys ‘R’ Us launched in the UK in 1985, when it emerged as the ‘world’s first toy supermarket’.

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Ian Brown’s brutal response to fan who asked why he played gig without a band

A number of fans have criticised the singer for performing alone without a band

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@jasonmansell7 & @aidankeating03 / Twitter

Ian Brown gave a savage response to a fan last night following the controversy surrounding his solo Leeds gig over the weekend.

The Stone Roses frontman kick started his first UK tour in a decade at the Leeds O2 Academy on Sunday, with him due to perform at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse this Friday (September 30th). 

However, many fans were left disappointed by Brown’s performance thanks to the absence of the rest of the band, with one concert-goer describing it as him ‘[doing] karaoke and butchering his own tunes.’

Alongside of a video showing Brown singing alone on an empty stage, fan Steven Latham wrote: “Gutted to see @ianbrown turn up to his £40 a ticket, sold out gig at Leeds tonight WITH NO BAND.

I’m a life long fan but it was bad. #ianbrown does karaoke and butchers his own tunes. Most were too p****d to care but I had to get out after this one.”

Another fan slammed the singer for not giving musicians the opportunity to make some money ‘after a difficult few years’, writing: “Musicians and crew need work after a difficult few years.

“Ian Brown can afford to employ people but don’t quite get why he chooses not to?”

However, this comment seemingly touched a nerve with Brown, who scathingly replied in a now-deleted tweet: “I have a crew of 12 out on the road with me [sic] What’s it got to do with you you jealous p***k?”

Ian Brown / Twitter

The singer also took the time to respond to other fans who enjoyed last night’s concert in Glasgow, with him writing: “GLASGOW. HATERS HATE AND LOVERS LOVE!”

Other concert-goers praises Brown’s performance last night, with another fan noting: “Far more honest to play to a backing track on your own, than be in a band pretending to be 100% live yet playing along to a backing track.”

A second added: “This was an amazing show. Cool and surprising concept for Ian Brown to just present himself, the man and king on stage. He sounded great. Fans had a great time.”

Ian Brown’s headline tour continues tonight in Edinburgh, with following shows scheduled for Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and London.

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