Video news bulletin: Mersey tunnel toll price to rise for first time in five years

WATCH: Your latest news update for Thursday, 6 January.

The cost to use the Mersey tunnels is set to rise by 20p for car drivers from 1 April, 2022.

Officials say the hike in price is due to increased costs and pandemic-related budget pressures.

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Millions of pounds are spent each year running and maintaining the Queensway and Kingsway tunnels, which are over 80 and 50 years old, respectively. Their electricity costs a total of more than £1 million a year.

The increase in tolls – which have been reduced or frozen for most users since 2017 - comes as the Combined Authority continues to feel the financial impact of supporting local communities through the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

‘Alarming’ increase in Covid cases

Fears have been raised over the rise in coronavirus cases across St Helens.

In the week leading up to January 1, the seven-day rate of infection in the borough was 2,738 per 100,000, with 4,926 new cases recorded.

This is three times higher than the number of cases recorded during January last year. Currently, there are 120 people in St Helens and Knowsley Hospital who have COVID-19.

Cllr Anthony Burns, cabinet member for wellbeing, culture and heritage, said: “The rise in new positive cases in the borough is very alarming and with schools returning it is essential we do all that we can to prevent further infections spreading at the current rate.”

Everton legend appointed to Board of Directors

Graeme Sharp has been appointed to Everton's board of directors. The club legend will become a non-executive director and, whilst he will remain the club's players' life president, will relinquish all other club duties.

The second-highest goal scorer in Everton history, Sharp amassed four major trophies during his playing career at Goodison.

Sharp said: "This club is in my blood. I have enjoyed many great days as a Blue - and joining the board and being able to play a part in shaping Everton's future is one of the greatest honours of all.

"I look forward to working with my fellow board members and take my responsibility as a custodian of our great club very seriously."