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Osborne promises 'major new improvements' to road system

George Osborne says he will this week set out "major new improvements" to the UK's roads system.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, the Chancellor said:

It's a major improvement in our country's road system which was, frankly, neglected and we're spending much, much more money than even the previous Labour government when they were spending money like there was no tomorrow...You're going to see major new improvements on key roads, to the south-west of England, through Norfolk, up through Northumbria

– George Osborne

Jailed shipyard worker takes fight for justice to Europe

A former shipyard worker from Aintree jailed after an industrial dispute thirty years ago is taking his fight to clear his name to the European Parliament.

Eddie Marnell is one of 37 men arrested at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead during a strike over redundancies in 1984.

Cammell Laird is now an entirely different company under different management.

But Eddie has won the right to have his petition considered in Brussels.

Daniel Hewitt reports.

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Businesses and charities to take over unused buildings

Derelict buildings in Manchester and Liverpool are to be handed over to artists and entrepreneurs, under a Government scheme to revitalise run-down areas of northern cities.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced the move on a visit to Berlin, where a similar project has turned unused land and buildings into work space.

He wants pop-up shops, start-up businesses and charities to takeover vacant buildings temporarily. Councils and land-owners will be asked to match sites with potential users.

Nick Clegg speaking in Berlin Credit: PA

"Leaving useful land in the north to languish is not only bad for business, it can hamper the success of an area in so many ways. Which is why I want to see empty buildings brought back to life and back in business.”

– NICK CLEGG, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

The north of England has nearly twice as many hectares of previously developed vacant land and buildings as the south. Mr Clegg is setting up a working group of councils, businesses and charities, to report back in January.

"We need to understand what stands in the way of some of the most incredible space in the country being used and make things more flexible so that we can fill these buildings with artists, start-ups, and other entrepreneurs to restore the buildings' purpose and appeal."

– NICK CLEGG, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Some areas and buildings have already been identified in Manchester, including plots on King Street, Cross Street, Deansgate and Piccadilly Place.

In Liverpool, the ABC Cinema, Lyceum Post Office and The Oratory are among the sites being considered.

Boost for BAE in Lancashire after radar contract

Defence giant BAE Systems, which employs around 10,000 people in Lancashire, says that the nations behind the Eurofighter have agreed to a contract to fit new radar to their aircraft.

The Eurofighter Typhoon will be fitted with new radar Credit: BAE Systems

The company says the contract is worth £365m to BAE Systems who will be the lead on the work.

Much of the fitting will be carried out at the company's site in Warton.

Airport owners aim to bring flights back to Blackpool

Following the airport closure, we announced our commitment to develop a sustainable future for aviation services at Blackpool Airport, today is the first step in that process. Squires Gate Airport Operations Ltd will support the return of independent aviation businesses to Blackpool, including Bond Offshore Helicopters. We look forward to working with the local councils and other stakeholders as we seek to ensure a long term future for flying in Blackpool

– Spokesperson for Balfour Beatty

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Oldham development will be 'gamechanging'

Artist's impression of Oldham's redevelopment Credit: Oldham Council

Oldham Council is unveiling a new major development of Oldham town centre bringing new shops, housing and jobs to the area. Its hoped the project, called the Princes Gate, will capitalise on Metrolink’s arrival and be a way to transform and regenerate the area. Click here for an animated 3D flyover of what the development will look like when completed.

'Prince’s Gate at Oldham Mumps is all about our aspirations for our future – it is a gamechanger for the new Oldham.'

– Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader

Wind farm jobs boost for North West

Credit: PA

Its claimed that hundreds of new jobs have been created as a result of the growth of windfarms. A conference is being held in Manchester and delegates will be told the number of people working in the renewable energy sector is up and investment has hit £2.6 billion pounds. In October 2014 the North West's biggest off shore wind farm began operating in Cumbria, with 108 turbines off the Barrow in Furness coastline powering 280,000 homes.

Town wins top award

A Lancashire town has won an award for having one of the best high streets in the country. Barnoldswick picked up the title of best local centre in a competition to revamp and revitalise high streets nationwide. Government minister, Penny Mordaunt said Barnoldswick impressed with some very innovative ideas to try and attract new visitors.

Emergency support for North West families at risk

There's a warning that millions of pounds meant for emergency grants and essential support to help North West families in a crisis is under threat from Government cuts. The Children's Society said ministers are looking to withdraw all support from Local Welfare Assistance Schemes. These are run by local councils to help get struggling families back on their feet. Rob Jackson is from the Children's Society.

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