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As lockdown restrictions ease and we start to consider travelling again, the future of cross-Channel operator Eurostar remains uncertain.
Eurostar is seeking financial support from the UK Government, citing higher access charges here as a reason.
The French Government has pledged to provide support for the operator, while £200 million has been provided by one of its shareholders, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure.
Registered in the UK and supporting 3,000 jobs either with the business or in the supply chain, the company is, however, 55% owned by SNCF (French state rail), 40% by CDPQ/Hermes and 5% by SNCB (Belgian state railways).
So: Should the UK Government provide financial assistance to Eurostar?

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‘Business-led plan’ needed for Northern Powerhouse

Northern 142045 at Manchester Piccadilly on December 12 2014. RICHARD CLINNICK.

The current approach to the Northern Powerhouse is “piecemeal, partial and parochial”, and a ‘Great North Plan’ led by Northern businesses is needed, according to IPPR North and the Royal Town Planning Institute.

While much of the focus of the Northern Powerhouse has been on transport, such as cutting Leeds-Manchester journey times, the bodies say that efforts should be focused on planning for innovation, energy and advanced manufacturing.

A long-term horizon of 2050 is recommended to allow time for “genuinely transformative change” across a range of areas, although interim steps in the short and medium terms will be needed to demonstrate achievability of that long-term vision.

Blueprint for a Great North Plan says the five core cities in the north of England should work closely with Transport for the North, business and central government to develop a “clear and inclusive process” for broader engagement in strategic planning.

Individual taskforces should be established to look at seven areas including transport, and the blueprint says businesses in the region should pledge time, expertise and resources in order to support the North’s ambitions.

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