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Tag Archives: five

Rise in airport drop-off and pick-up charges ‘eye-watering’

Passenger with suitcases at airportImage copyright Chalabala/Getty Images
Image caption The RAC advised drivers to check airport charges in advance “or be prepared for an unpleasant shock”

Charges for picking up and dropping off passengers at some of the UK‘s busiest airports have risen by as much as 100% over the past year, a new study claims.

RAC research found eight of the top 20 UK airports had increased pick-up fees, while five airports had raised charges for drivers dropping passengers off.

The RAC described tariffs as high as £3.50 for 10 minutes as “eye-watering”.

But the Airport Operators Association said fees were “clearly flagged” and were channelled into site facilities.

Seven airports, including London‘s Heathrow and Gatwick, continue to offer free drop-off parking.

‘Bone of contention’

London Stansted is currently the most expensive airport in the UK to drop passengers at the terminal, the RAC said – with prices jumping by 50p to £3.50 for 10 minutes in the last year.

Liverpool‘s John Lennon airport, the second most expensive, raised drop-off fees by 100% – from £2 for 20 minutes to £3 for 20 minutes.

Glasgow airport, where it was previously free to drop off passengers, introduced a charge of £2 for 10 minutes in April. Similarly, Southampton has introduced a £1 fee for 10 minutes.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “The eye-watering drop-off and pick-up costs at some airports is likely to be viewed by drivers as another way of making money out of them – particularly in instances where public transport to and from the airport simply isn’t a viable option.”

“Drop-off charges are the biggest bone of contention, as for many they appear severe when they are simply pulling up for less than five minutes and often don’t even get out of the car themselves.”

‘Costly’ good deeds

Rising pick-up charges are also exposed by the research.

Motorists collecting family or friends from London Luton are charged the most in the UK at £7 for 40 minutes, according to the report – although there was no increase in charges for 2017.

London Stansted was again among the most expensive airports – this time for collection – raising charges by 50p to £5 for 30 minutes, £1.50 more expensive than London Gatwick for the same service, which increased changes by 30p.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption London Heathrow, the UK’s busiest passenger airport, does not charge to drop off passengers

London City airport raised fees by £1, to £3.50 for a 10-minute stop, while Southampton and Cardiff airports both introduced charges of £1 for 10 minutes, having previously charged nothing for the first 10 or 20 minutes respectively.

Belfast City, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool John Lennon continue to offer free short-stay parking for passenger collection for a minimum of 10 minutes (in Belfast), stretching to 60 minutes in Bradford.

Mr Williams said airport charges for short-stay parking had turned “a good deed [into] a costly experience”.

But a spokesman for the Airport Operators Association defended the charges, saying the income earned was channelled into airport facilities and allowed airports “to keep charges to airlines low, benefiting travellers through lower air fares”.

He cited congestion and environmental impact among the reasons for the range of charges across the regions.

The spokesman said charges were clearly flagged up and passengers had a “high level of awareness of the different ways they can choose to get to the airport, ranging from public transport to travelling by car”.

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Brad Conway rape trial jury shown sex tape clips

A JURY sitting in the case of a man accused of rape has been shown clips of sex tapes on the request of the defence.

Brad Conway, formerly of Wibsey, Bradford, is on trial facing nine rape charges, two charges of sexual assault, two of voyeurism and single charges of harassment to commit rape and false imprisonment.

The defence is maintaining all five women involved in the case consented to sex.

The videos had been taken from the defendant’s hard drive when he was arrested.

A woman giving evidence said she had been forced to take part in the clips against her will.

Taking the stand at Bradford Crown Court yesterday, the fifth woman to give evidence against 36-year-old Conway said she was scared of him a lot of the time.

He was bribing her “that he would expose things” and was manipulative and frightening.

Asked why she had met another witness and exchanged text messages she said: “It was because she was some support. Someone who had known him and his ways and understood.

“She was the only person who really knew the situation I had been in.”

Conway’s barrister Stephen Uttley said one of the text messages to the other woman said he (Conway) was “going to be arrested” after the woman had asked if she had heard anything.

The two women had also exchanged texts referring to investigating officer DC Emma Simpson.

“One text said: “What did you tell the police?”

“Why did she ask that?” said Mr Uttley.

“She was wanting to know how it (the interview) went with the police,” the woman in the stand said.

Mr Uttley asked the witness how she knew the defendant was going to be arrested.

She said DC Simpson had told her how the case was progressing.

In regard to the text messages between two of the witnesses, Mr Uttley asked if the police had told her not to discuss anything with any witnesses.

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The woman replied: “I don’t remember the police saying that, but I would not have done any way.”

Mr Uttley said he knew she had filled out a compensation claim and asked if she was looking at seeking a payout.

She said yes, because of the suffering Conway had caused her.

When suggesting that all sexual activity with Conway was consensual, the witness answered. “I disagree.”

The trial continues.

Rape trial jury shown sex tape clips

A JURY sitting in the case of a man accused of rape has been shown clips of sex tapes on the request of the defence.

Brad Conway, formerly of Wibsey, Bradford, is on trial facing nine rape charges, two charges of sexual assault, two of voyeurism and single charges of harassment to commit rape and false imprisonment.

The defence is maintaining all five women involved in the case consented to sex.

The videos had been taken from the defendant’s hard drive when he was arrested.

A woman giving evidence said she had been forced to take part in the clips against her will.

Taking the stand at Bradford Crown Court yesterday, the

fifth woman to give evidence against 36-year-old Conway said she was scared of him a lot of the time.

He was bribing her “that he would expose things” and was manipulative and frightening.

Asked why she had met another witness and exchanged text messages she said: “It was because she was some support. Someone who had known him and his ways and understood.

“She was the only person who really knew the situation I had been in.”

Conway’s barrister Stephen Uttley said one of the text messages to the other woman said he (Conway) was “going to be arrested” after the woman had asked if she had heard anything.

The two women had also exchanged texts referring to investigating officer DC Emma Simpson.

“One text said: “What did you tell the police?”

“Why did she ask that?” said Mr Uttley.

“She was wanting to know how it (the interview) went with the police,” the woman in the stand said.

Mr Uttley asked the witness how she knew the defendant was going to be arrested.

She said DC Simpson had told her how the case was progressing.

In regard to the text messages between two of the witnesses, Mr Uttley asked if the police had told her not to discuss anything with any witnesses.

MORE TOP STORIES

The woman replied: “I don’t remember the police saying that, but I would not have done any way.”

Mr Uttley said he knew she had filled out a compensation claim and asked if she was looking at seeking a payout.

She said yes, because of the suffering Conway had caused her.

When suggesting that all sexual activity with Conway was consensual, the witness answered. “I disagree.”

The trial continues.

The woman without legs who became an equestrian champion

Angelika Trabert has won 24 medals in more than 25 years, six of them at five different Paralympic Games.

When she’s not riding horses she works as an anaesthetist in Frankfurt or in Guinea where she travels with an NGO to provide urgent medical care.

Video Journalist: Jan Bruck

‘Huge business rate rise’ for small firms

Small business ownerImage copyright Getty Images

More than 56,000 small businesses in England will face steep tax rises next year, research indicates.

Business rate increases will total £152m in April, rates specialist CVS said, putting a heavier burden on firms already reeling from rising inflation.

The prediction follows a drop in retail sales last month as inflation hit its highest level in more than five years.

“For many shops, this may be the last straw,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium.

“Across the country, especially in economically deprived and vulnerable communities, the cost of failing to take action will likely be seen in yet more empty shops and gap-toothed High Streets,” she added.

CVS says its research shows that 37,364 small shops will see their business rates bills rise above inflation next April, with 30,198 small shops facing rises in their rates bills of between 10% and 14.99%.

Business rates are a property tax based on rental values. The rates increase annually, in line with September’s Retail Prices Index, a measure of inflation. The ONS this week said the RPI rate of inflation had reached 3.9%.

Meanwhile, the UK‘s key inflation rate climbed to 3% in September, driven up by increases in transport and food prices. The pick-up in inflation raises the likelihood of an increase in interest rates – currently at 0.25% – in November, the first rise in a decade.

Tighter belts

Brexit is driving inflation,” CVS chief executive Mark Rigby said, urging the chancellor to be “bold” in his November Budget and freeze inflationary rate rises in 2018.

“Import prices have risen given the fall in the pound with prices rising faster than wages, causing households to tighten their belts on spending, especially on big ticket items,” he added.

The Treasury periodically changes the rateable value of business properties to reflect differences in the property market, a process known as revaluation.

Image copyright Getty Images

Under the latest revaluation, which came into effect on 1 April, “transitional relief means big increases to bills are phased in gradually over the five years of the tax regime,” according to CVS.

In March, the government announced £435m in support to firms facing the steepest increases in bills following the revaluation. The package, which came after £3.6bn in transitional relief, included capping the increase in bills of 16,000 small businesses to £50 a month this year.

‘Heads in the sand’

“We are delivering the biggest ever cut in business rates to businesses across the country,” a Treasury spokesperson said.

“The almost £9bn package will see a third of all businesses pay no rates at all and will mean nearly a million companies will see their bills cut,” they added.

CVS says fewer than half of all councils in the country have revised business rate bills after the introduction of the relief package in the spring Budget.

“Ministers mustn’t bury their heads in the sand,” BRC’s Ms Dickinson said. “In his Budget next month, the chancellor needs to get a grip on the matter and rule out a rise in business rates to help save shops, protect jobs, and preserve high streets.”

City centre sandwich shop closes down

THE owner of a city centre sandwich shop today shut the business after 13 years of trading.

Mark Preston, 57, said Kroustie in Bank Street, Bradford, had suffered a decline in customers since the opening of the Broadway Shopping Centre.

He said his weekly turnover had dropped by about £1,000 a week.

Mr Preston said: “People would rather wander around the Broadway and do some shopping then grab a quick ‘plastic’ sandwich.”

He added that a decline in the number of offices and businesses in the city centre over the last five years had also harmed his trade.

Rape accused Brad Conway is former teacher and martial arts fighter, court hears

A man standing trial accused of multiple counts of rape is a former teacher and mixed martial arts fighter, it has emerged in court.

Brad Conway, 36, formerly of Wibsey, Bradford, is on trial at Bradford Crown Court charged with nine counts of rape, two counts of sexual assault, two of voyeurism and single charges of harassment to commit rape and false imprisonment.

A jury has been shown a video interview with a woman in which she described teacher Conway as a “narcissist” with an anti-social personality disorder. She said: “He is very controlling. If he really wants it, he will do it.”

She described him as persistent, manipulative, and forceful, stating he was either “really, really nasty, or sickeningly nice”.

In the interview, she said Conway had forced her to make sexually explicit videos with him, even though she told him it was something she didn’t want to do, and would threaten to post them on her work’s social media accounts and say he was going to watch them with his friends.

The woman said she was “scared” by his behaviour, adding: “He will ply you with drugs and alcohol – it’s not like he can force you to drink, but it’s psychologically manipulating.”

In one incident, which she described as “the most horrifying”, Conway is said to have become angry over a message he saw on her phone while at a Bradford bar. The woman said Conway took her phone, before dragging her through town, locking her in his car and then drove “like a maniac” to his house, where he forced her to have sex with him.

The woman said she was “physically pinned down”, that Conway had put a pillow over her face and she was screaming.

Asked why she had not reported the allegations to police straightaway, the girl said events had left her “emotionally numb.”

Conway’s barrister, Stephen Uttley, told the jury at the beginning of the trial that his client’s defence was that all five women involved in the case had consented to sex.

Mr Uttley accused the woman – whom the jury saw had attended a mixed martial arts contest in which Conway was fighting – of “meddling” with the police investigation by pressurising another woman to come forward with allegations against him.

When asked whether her allegations were “payback” against Conway, now of Balmoral Place, Halifax, she said: “This is not payback by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t have any personal vendetta against Brad. I have a moral obligation to protect woman and children from him.”

The trial continues.

Emile Cilliers trial: Parachute ‘sabotage’ possible in five minutes

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Media captionVideo shown in court to display how accused man could have tampered with wife’s parachute

Jurors in the trial of a man accused of tampering with his wife’s parachute have been shown videos of how the alleged sabotage could have taken place in a toilet in just over five minutes.

Victoria Cilliers, 40, suffered multiple injuries in a 4,000ft fall at Netheravon Airfield, Wiltshire in 2015.

Emile Cilliers, 37, denies attempting to murder his former Army officer wife.

Two videos of a parachute expert showing how the sabotage could be done were played at Winchester Crown Court.

Prosecutors allege Mr Cilliers, of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps in Aldershot, twisted the lines of his wife’s main parachute and removed two slinks – which attach lines to the harness from a reserve chute – on the day before her jump.

The army fitness instructor is also accused of a third charge of damaging a gas valve at their home a few days earlier, in the second allegation that he attempted to kill his wife. He denies all three charges.

Image caption The army fitness instructor denies attempting to murder Victoria Cilliers in April 2015

The court has heard that Mr Cilliers allegedly took his wife’s packed parachute into the hangar’s toilets where he is accused of tampering with it.

The jury asked if they could be shown a demonstration of how this might have been done in the tight space of the toilet cubicle.

Mark Bayada, the chief instructor at Netheravon and expert witness for the prosecution, carried out the filmed demonstration using two different parachutes.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Cilliers allegedly took his wife’s packed parachute into the hangar’s toilets where he is accused of tampering with it

He used one which was the same size as that used by Mrs Cilliers on the day of her near-fatal jump and another slightly larger parachute.

The court heard both sabotage demonstrations were completed in just over five minutes.

Mr Bayada said the tampering carried out would not be noticed in a pre-jump flight line visual check.

The trial continues.

Half of indefinite term prisoners being recalled to jail

A prisoner in a cell

More than half of prisoners freed after serving controversial indeterminate sentences for public protection are being sent back to jail for breaching licence conditions, MPs have been told.

Giving the figures in Parliament, Nick Hardwick, chairman of the Parole Board for England and Wales, said the matter had now become a “critical” issue.

In the last year, 760 IPP inmates were recalled – up 22% from the year before.

Monitoring of those released had been “lacking”, the prisons minister said.

What are IPP sentences?

Introduced by Labour in 2005, they were designed to ensure that dangerous offenders remained locked up until it was safe for them to be let out.

Under the system, prisoners were given a minimum term – or tariff – which they would have to serve before the Parole Board then decided whether to free them on licence.

However, hundreds of inmates found themselves locked up for years beyond the end of their tariff after finding it hard to access rehabilitation courses in custody in order to demonstrate they no longer posed a risk.

Courts were banned from imposing IPPs in 2012. However, 3,300 IPP prisoners remain in custody, 51% of whom are more than five years over the end of their tariff.

The Parole Board and the Ministry of Justice have taken measures to ensure IPP offenders can access courses more easily and are better prepared for their parole hearings.

What is the problem now?

Currently, 75% of those whose cases are heard are let out or transferred to an “open” prison – which is usually a step to the road to release.

But speaking at the House of Commons Justice Committee, Mr Hardwick said: “The most significant issue with the IPP problem now is that more than 50% are being recalled, not necessarily because they’ve committed another offence, but because they’ve broken their licence conditions – and that’s a real problem.

“So, we’re letting them out, but they’re getting recalled often for relatively minor breaches of licence,” he said.

Mr Hardwick said IPP offenders were being sent back to prison for turning up drunk at their bail hostel – even though that presented no risk to anyone.

When they return to prison, the Parole Board has to again assess each case to decide if they are safe to be freed.

Mr Hardwick said 60% of recalled offenders were let out for a second time.

Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah defended the system of recall

However, he warned that by 2020 the number of IPP prisoners sent back to jail was likely to be more than the 1,500 still waiting to be released for the first time.

Dealing with the problem was out of the Parole Board’s hands, he argued.

“The Parole Board can do its part of the job… but that depends on there being the facilities in the community to manage them properly when they’re out there and it depends on probation having a consistent view of risk with us – and there’s a mismatch out there.”

What does the government say?

Sam Gyimah, the prisons and probation minister, defended the recall system, saying it struck the “right balance” and prisoners would be sent back if the nature of the licence breach directly related to the risk they posed and their original offending.

“These people are incredibly risky,” he said.

The minister said in future more IPP prisoners would be electronically tagged on release to ensure they comply with the terms of their licence and there would be other “innovations” to improve their management in the community.

“I put my hand up – that was lacking initially,” he said.

Asked whether the government would consider new legislation to re-sentence IPP prisoners or take other legal steps to speed up the process of their release, Mr Gyimah said “all options are under review”.

However, he gave a clear indication that it was unlikely to happen, adding: “The system is working.”

The committee also heard that the Parole Board expects to pay prisoners a million pounds in compensation this financial year for delays in hearings and decisions.

In 2016-17, 578 prisoners received a total of £938,000, which was almost double the figure the previous year.

Level of unemployment in district falls again

A FALL in the number of unemployed people in Bradford for the sixth month in a row has been welcomed by JobCentre Plus.

A total of 8,670 people claimed out-of-work benefits in September, down from 8,780 in August.

The number is down by 695 from September 2016, figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal.

The percentage of Bradford’s workforce claiming benefits is still above the national average, at 2.6 per cent compared with the national figure of 1.9 per cent and the Yorkshire figure of 2.2 per cent.

Heather Barraclough, employment partnership manager at JobCentre Plus Bradford, said: “This is good news. Employment is up by seven per cent on last year and 56 per cent from five years ago.

“We have seen big recruitment locally by firms such as Jet2.com, Argos and Toys R Us.”

Ms Barraclough said it was positive news that Bradford’s claimant count has bucked the national trend by falling.

She said: “It’s nice to see so many employers are recognising people from Bradford have a lot to offer.”

The Bradford East constituency has seen the biggest reduction in the number of people unemployed, with 2,315 people claiming benefits, down by 90 from August and 345 from September last year. Figures show 3.2 per cent of the workforce are currently unemployed.

Shipley is the only constituency to see a rise in unemployment from August, with 905 claiming out-of-work benefits, up by 25 from August. However, it still has the lowest unemployment rate in the district at 1.5 per cent, and the number of unemployed is down by ten from last year.

Bradford West has seen the second highest drop in unemployment, down to 2,675 in September from 2,705 in August, and 2,875 12 months ago, but continues to have the highest unemployment rate of 3.6 per cent.

In Bradford South, the number of people in work went up by 15, with 1,735 people currently out of work. The number is down 150 from September 2016, when the figure was 1,885. The rate of unemployment in the constituency is 2.7 per cent.

While the number of people out of work in Keighley has dropped by ten from August to 1,035, the number is higher than this time last year, when 1,030 people were out of work.

Nationally, the claimant count increased by 1,700 to 804,100 last month.