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Labour indicate Heywood by-election date

The by-election sparked by the death of Labour MP Jim Dobbin will be held on October 9, the party indicated.

The by-election was triggered by the death of Jim Dobbin Credit: Labour Party/PA Images

A writ setting the date for the contest in Heywood and Middleton is to be moved by the party in the Commons today, a source said.

It is the same day as voters go to the polls in Clacton, Essex following Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip from the Conservatives.

Mr Dobbin, who had represented the seat since 1997, died at the weekend while on a Parliamentary trip to Poland at the age of 73.

At the 2010 general election, Labour won the Greater Manchester seat with a majority of 5,971.

Manchester Airport Group passenger numbers up

Passenger levels rose at all four airports operated by the Manchester Airports Group (Mag) last month.

MAG saw passenger numbers rise across its airports Credit: PA Images

Stansted numbers increased 11.6% to 2.03 million in August 2014 compared with August last year, while the number of passengers handled at Manchester airport rose 8.2% to 2.56 million.

East Midlands airport enjoyed a rise of 4.3% to 620,000, while Bournemouth was up 2.8% to 97,000.

Together, the four airports handled 8.9% more passengers last month than in August 2013. In the 12 months ending August 2014 the total for the four airports was 45.58 million - a 6.3% increase on the figure for the 12 months ending August 2013.

Network Rail plans to expand Manchester stations

The plans would see tracks widened at Oxford Road station Credit: Network Rail

Plans to build two additional platforms at Piccadilly station in Manchester have been submitted by Network Rail. The company also wants to widen the existing viaduct through the city towards Oxford Road station.

The company says it's investing more than £1bn in the rail network in the north of England.

The company says the plans are part of the "Northern Hub project" and believe they will "deliver faster, more frequent services and stimulate economic growth as a result of improved connections between towns and cities."

It also says the plan to put two more platforms at Piccadilly will mean the number of trains travelling through Manchester will rise from 12 to 16-per-hour in both directions.

Two new platforms would be built at Manchester Piccadilly Credit: Network Rail

Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “As part of investment totalling more than £1billion, the Northern Hub will help to meet the growing demands for rail travel and help to stimulate economic growth across the north of England.

“Along with our Ordsall Chord proposal to link Piccadilly and Victoria stations for the first time, which is currently being considered by secretary of state for transport, this is a vital part of our plans to develop the railway.

“This level of building and engineering through the centre of Manchester is a significant challenge and we are keen to speak to as many people as possible ahead of our final proposals being submitted.”

Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM committee, said: “The projects the Northern Hub investment will deliver are essential for us to bring our Victorian rail infrastructure into the modern age and ensure it can accommodate more trains and passengers both now and long into the future.

“But it is a programme that is very much the sum of its parts and the additional links between Piccadilly and Oxford Road are a crucial part of the overall piece.

“The start of this consultation signals an important milestone and I encourage passengers, residents and businesses to take the opportunity to find out more about the scheme and the benefits it will bring.”

Could £1bn investment mean more transport misery?

A £1bn investment into Manchester's transport network will help create 40,000 new jobs, according to a report out today from the city council. The expansion of Manchester's Metrolink is just one of the schemes that will benefit from the three-year project.

The report comes as city leaders anticipate increasing levels of frustration among commuters who've faced disruption in the city centre in recent months. Ashley Derricott has the details

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Transforming Manchester's future

Credit: ITV Granada

Manchester city centre will undergo changes over the next three years its claimed will be as significant as the period after the bomb in 1996. A new report says a three year investment plan will see projects totalling a billion pounds. The programme is known as Grow and planners and business people hope it'll help Manchester's city centre to flourish for years to come. Projects include the Metrolink second city crossing, the redevelopment of Victoria Station and the regeneration of St Peter’s Square and the Civic Quarter.

Credit: ITV Granada

“Manchester is Britain’s fastest-growing city and a place which has a real sense of ambition and momentum. City centre growth means more investment, more jobs and more opportunities."

– Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council

New Land Rover revealed at Halewood

New Land Rover model

A new sports utility vehicle which has helped create 250 jobs is being revealed today by Jaguar Land Rover .

The new seven-seater Land Rover Discovery Sport will be made at Jaguar Land Rover's Halewood plant on Merseyside and is part of the £200 million the company is spending on developing the Discovery family of vehicles.

The new 2.2 litre turbo diesel-powered vehicle will be available from January and prices will start at £32,395.

The extra jobs take the total number at Halewood to 4,750 - more than treble the number employed there in 2010.

The Discovery Sport is being revealed at Spaceport America in New Mexico, US, the base for Virgin Galactic's sub-orbital space flights.

JLR is also launching the Land Rover Galactic Discovery competition, in which four people can win a trip to space with Virgin Galactic.

JLR said its capital spending for the 2014/15 financial year was expected to reach up to £3.5 billion.

  1. National

Co-op group members back radical shake-up

A radical shake-up of the way the Co-operative group is run has been approved by its members.

A general view of a Co-operative food store, in the Strand, central London. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive

At a special general meeting in Manchester, the crisis-hit company said 83% of votes were cast in favour of proposals drawn up in the wake of last year when the group racked up £2.5 billion losses.

The plans include reform of the food-to-funerals group's board structure, with elected directors - including the likes of a plasterer, engineer and retired deputy head teacher - largely replaced by professional business people.

The new governance structure includes the creation of a smaller board of directors and a move to a one-member one-vote system.

Port of Liverpool upgrade will create 5,000 jobs

The owners of the Liverpool 2 project say the scheme will create up to 5,000 new jobs across the North West.

Peel Ports is investing £300m upgrading Liverpool Port to enable it to handle bigger vessels, gaining more business.

Bosses claim the scheme will deliver 500 direct jobs at Port of Liverpool, and 4,500 more in the maritime and logistics supply which are expected to be created over the next 5 years.

The facility will enable the port to handle super-sized containers Credit: PA

David Huck, Port Director at Peel Ports said: “Employment in the maritime sector is expected to double over the next 20 years and Peel Ports is determined to play a pivotal role both in creating those jobs and ensuring the workforce has the skills we need to be successful. The whole region stands to benefit enormously from growth and investment in maritime and related sectors."

New jobs will include full and part time opportunities for stevedores, pilots, launch crew, line handlers, plant operators, haulage administrators, vessel planning and supervision staff, and work in management, accounts and commercial services. The recruitment process will get underway from 2015.

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