Live updates

  1. National

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


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

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.

Will Greater Manchester get greater powers

It's believed the Government is planning to give more powers to councils in Greater Manchester to run their own affairs. George Osborne is thought to be preparing an announcement next week creating a new 'super council' which would make decisions on areas like transport. Ralph Blunsom looks at that and Ed Miliband's plans for devolved power in the North West

Miliband wants to spread wealth to North West

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband is in Manchester to unveil his party's plan to try and spread power and prosperity across England's regions. He believes the economic recovery is only benefitting a wealthy few in London and not everyday working people in the North West and elsewhere outside the capital.

Labour want to spread power and prosperity across the country Credit: PA

Included in Labour's plans, if they win the next general election, is giving regions more power over their public transport networks and passing an English Devolution Act which Labour says will mean a cash boost of £30 billion pounds over five years.


Cumbria Council to cut 1800 jobs

Cumbria County council announce 1800 job losses

Cumbria County Council is planning to cut 1,800 jobs to achieve savings of £83 million over the next three years.

By 2018 the authority, run by a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition, will employ 5,200 staff, almost half as many as five years ago.

A consultation on the planned cuts will run until the new year, but the authority warned that millions of pounds of savings were needed to balance its books.

Cumbria County Council deputy leader Patricia Bell said:

These are dark times for the public sector. These are the biggest cuts the council has ever seen. Losing another 1,800 staff will impact on lives, families and our local economy.

"It will be very painful but there is no alternative. We have a legal duty to balance our books and we must live within our means and face up to the reality that if the Government cuts our grants and reduces our budget by a quarter, then we have to make cuts too.

"It has taken a massive effort to identify the £130 million of savings a year that we've already found, but the next three years of cutting a further #83 million is going to be incredibly tough.

– Cumbria County Council deputy leader Patricia Bell

Warning to travellers over Blackpool Airport

ABTA are warning passengers to keep in touch with airlines after the news that Blackpool Airport could close.

The owners say that its been losing money for years and unless a buyer is found it may have only two weeks.

Its the third biggest airport in the North West.

The Association of British Travel Agents say passengers should keep in touch with their tour operators.

Jet2 'surprise' at Blackpool Airport closure threat

Flight operator Jet2 says the threat of closure the Blackpool Airport has come as a 'surprise'.

A spokesperson for the company said:

"Today’s announcement has come as a surprise to us. It is our intention to continue operating flights as normal from Blackpool Airport.

"Should the airport make the decision to close, contingency plans will be in place and we will do everything we can to support both our loyal and Jet2holidays staff and customers.”

– Jet2 spokesperson

Blackpool council 'disappointed' over airport closure threat

Blackpool City Council has released at statement after it was revealed Blackpool Airport could close operations if no buyer is found.

The statement, from Cllr John Jones, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said:

“We have been aware that Balfour Beatty have been making significant losses at the airport, however, the speed of the decision comes as a shock and we are naturally disappointed.

“Our first concern is, of course, for customers and those who are overseas or are due to be overseas at the time of the intended closure date, as well as those who have existing bookings.

“We want to know what is going to happen to those bookings and return arrangements and ensure they are dealt with properly to the satisfaction of the customers.

“We will be seeking answers from Balfour Beatty and the airlines over these issues immediately.

“From a wider point of view, this is likely the end of an era for the airport as a commercial passenger flight terminal which is a great shame. “We are very disappointed with how things have gone and we do feel that more could have been done by all concerned to stimulate demand and enhance the airport to increase its popularity."

– Cllr John Jones
Load more updates