The number of seats on trains in the North West is to increase by a third, under Government plans to reduce overcrowding on the region’s rail network. There will also be an extra 200 services every day across the Northern and Trans Pennine rail franchises.
The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, will unveil the plans today on a visit to Victoria station in Manchester, which is currently undergoing a £44 million redevelopment programme. Mr McLauglin is calling for further investment in stations from companies interested in bidding for the new franchises.
Successful bidders will also be required to replace outdatedPacer trains on North West rail routes and accommodate more than 19,000 extra commuters in Manchester during the morning peak.
A competition has been launched to find designs for the redevelopment of Preston's famous bus station. Lancashire County Council wants to create a new youth zone and public space on the site.
The plans will lead to an investment of around £13m while always seeking to preserve the building's Grade II listed architecture.
It's important that we protect the integrity of this listed building, while creating an exciting new facility for generations of our young people."
Less than two thirds of new homes needed in the north west were built last year. That's according to National Housing Federation figures that show only 12 000 homes were built out of the 19 000 needed to keep pace with demand. Experts warn the lack of supply is pricing many people out of owning or privately renting a home in their local area.
The federations report says failure to build enough homes is already pushing prices out of the reach. It estimates an annual income of at least £36,000 is needed to afford a typical mortgage in the North West.
A controversial shake-up of the benefits system that was piloted here in the North West is rolled out across the country, this morning.
Universal credit combines six benefits - including housing benefit, JSA and tax credits - into one single payment.
The scheme's been criticised by the National Audit Office as badly managed and failing to deliver on its targets.
The Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced a multi- million pound boost for the North West. The minister's been visiting Manchester University as part of the Government's aim to help empower regions to manage more of their own affairs. The money will be spent on improving scientific research, transport and supporting local businesses.
Manchester is to benefit from a huge cash injection which its hoped will boost business and improve the city's infrastructure. The business secretary Vince Cable will be in Manchester to announce the investment and discuss the devolution of power from London. He'll also meet local business people that have already benefitted from the Greater Manchester Growth Deal. Manchester will also be home to one of three new research centres looking into sythethic biology development.
These are the stores that Tesco have revealed are set to close.
- Connswater and Cregagh Road in Belfast
- Kirkcaldy and Wrexham Dodds Lane
- Bristol Cribbs Causeway
Tesco Express convenience stores
- Church Street, Ballymena
- Heaton Chapel
- Heybridge, Essex
- Houghton Regis
- Liverpool Kensington
- Longbridge Road, Barking
- Northfield, Birmingham
- Raymouth Lane, Worksop
- Sheffield Manor
- South Tottenham High Road
- Walsall Wood
- Whitley Bay
- York Road, Hartlepool.
Around 2,000 Tesco workers have been told their jobs are at risk after the supermarket giant announced the location of 43 store closures.
Seven superstores and six Homeplus outlets are among the unprofitable shops identified for closure by new chief executive Dave Lewis.
Mr Lewis said: "The decision to close the stores has been exceptionally difficult to take. I recognise it will affect many hard-working colleagues, our customers and local communities.
"Our priority is to explain what this announcement means for our colleagues and, wherever possible, offer them alternative roles with Tesco."
One of the North West's most famous destinations is preparing for a major overhaul.
A ten-year master plan to redesign and redevelop Wigan Pier has been agreed. Work on the project could start as soon as next year:
Bill Dawson, a partner in Deloitte's restructuring services practice, said: "Bank has struggled in a highly competitive segment of the retail industry and has been loss-making for a number of years."
He added that additional sale discounts will be implemented later this week.
"The company has already been approached by several parties who have expressed an interest in the business and the administrators are trading as a going concern with a view to progressing these options and seeking further interested parties for some or all of the business."
Bank was founded by Andy Scott - a former Macclesfield Town footballer - in 1994 and largely sells branded fashion items aimed at the youth market.
JD bought the chain from private equity owners Phoenix Equity Partners and management for £18.5 million in 2007.
In November it disposed of the business to HMV owner Hilco, a retail turnaround business, under terms which were not disclosed.
JD's fashion division, which includes the more successful Scotts brand, recently slumped to a half-year loss of £8.2 million despite continued efforts to revive Bank, including through the appointment of a new management team.
Bank has been offering discounts of up to 70% as it attempts to attract shoppers in the face of fierce competition.
The company's collapse comes a week after parcel courier firm City Link went into administration, costing the jobs of 2,400 workers.