Tories 'promise to reverse some of the Beeching railway cuts'

News that the Conservatives have promised to reverse some of the Beeching railway cuts while Labour has pledged to nationalise broadband provision features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the Conservative leader Boris Johnson will "reinstate local railway lines scrapped during the Beeching cuts in the Sixties as part of a package of measures to rejuvenate provincial towns". It goes on to say that the Conservatives "will make a manifesto pledge to spend £500million opening branch lines that closed more than 50 years ago, starting with routes in the north of England". Writing in the Telegraph, transport secretary Grant Shapps promised the plan will "banish the shadow of Beeching and restore those connections which made our country great and brought our people together". The newspaper says the Tories have earmarked lines in Lancashire and Northumberland to be reopened.

Meanwhile, The Times reports that Labour has vowed to "nationalise Britain’s broadband network and offer free internet access to every household and business in the country". John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, will today say that Labour would commit £20.3 billion to speed up the introduction of broadband.

The Scotsman reports that last year's Edinburgh Christmas market operated without any planning permission, it has been revealed. The city's Christmas market is set to open to the public on Saturday but organising company Udderbelly "has come under fire after it was discovered this year’s plans have not received planning permission, and no application is set to be formally handed over until the market has finished trading in January". Now it has been revealed that last year’s event operated without any planning permission after the previous permission expired in January 2018, the newspaper reports. It is not thought any enforcement action was taken by council officials, it adds. A city centre Green councillor said she was "utterly flabbergasted" at the news.

The Times and the Guardian both report on the government's latest net additional dwellings figures for 2018/19, which Planning covered yesterday. The Times says that housing supply in England "increased at a higher rate last year than at any time in the past 30 years", with 241,130 homes added to the country’s housing stock, 214,000 of which were new-build properties. It was the highest number since 1987, the newspaper says, "easily beating the figure of 223,530 for 2007-08 before the financial crash".

The Guardian reports that the cost of housing homeless families in temporary accommodation has risen by 78 per cent in five years to more than £1 billion, according to the latest government data. It states: "A combination of soaring rents and an increase in the number of families made homeless pushed spending on emergency housing to almost £1.1bn in England in the year to April 2019, analysis of figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows". Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, is quoted as saying the "shocking" increase - up 9 per cent year on year - was "the result of a failure by successive governments to build affordable social housing".


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