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No houses in the North West "easily affordable"

Credit: Press Association

There are no longer any areas in the North West where housing is 'easily affordable' according to a new report by the TUC.

The research found that 50% of housing in the region costs at least five times the local average salary.

Even previously ‘easily affordable’ areas, such as Bury and Rossendale, are now out of reach for many local people with house prices now over five times the average wage.

Properties in the Ribble Valley are the most unaffordable - house prices there being more than seven and a half times local average earnings.

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HSBC closes bank account of Bolton based charity

A Muslim charity has accused a bank of putting lives at risk for shutting down its account.

The Ummah Welfare Trust based in Bolton has distributed 70 million pounds to projects in 20 countries. It has had a presence in Gaza for the past 10 years.

But the charity has now received a letter from the HSBC to tell them their account is being closed for being beyond the bank's "risk appetite".

Ashley Derricott reports:

HSBC closes Bolton charity's bank account

A Bolton-based Muslim charity has accused a bank of putting lives at risk for shutting down its account.

The Ummah Welfare Trust has distributed 70 million pounds to projects in 20 countries. And it's had a presence in Gaza for the past 10 years.

But the charity has now received a letter from the HSBC to tell them their account is being closed for being beyond the bank's "risk appetite".

Mohammad Ahmad is from the charity.

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Co-op boss: 'Huge task ahead' after reform vote

The chair of the Co-operative Group says the unanimous vote in favour of wide-ranging reforms as a "highly significant moment" for the mutual, which slumped to £2.5 billion annual losses after a period of crisis.

Ursula Lidbetter said: "I am delighted that our members have made clear their commitment to far-reaching reform of our governance with this unanimous vote.

"There is a huge task ahead of us if we are to deliver the reforms necessary to restore the Group's reputation and return it to health but the board will work hand-in-hand with our members to ensure that we seize this opportunity.

"It is vital that the right changes are put in place as soon as possible to build a more effective organisation for our members, customers and colleagues."

  1. National

Co-op reform vote 'a step in the right direction'

Britain's biggest union has welcomed the vote for reform of the troubled mutual.

Adrian Jones, national officer of Unite, said: "The vote for reform is a welcome step in the right direction and one which we hope will put the Co-op Group on the road to stability.

"Going forward it is vital that our members and employees have a voice in the reform process for it to succeed and ensure the Co-op Group has a fighting chance while retaining its unique values and ethos."

  1. National

Co-op ballot on slimmed down 'plc and beyond'

Former City minister Lord Myners wants to replace this with a slimmed-down "plc and beyond" structure staffed by professionally-trained directors.

The former Marks & Spencer boss was appointed a director of the Co-operative Group in December but announced he is to leave following this weekend's vote.

Former City minister Lord Myners. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He has said it was apparent to him from the first time he attended a board meeting that not one of its members had the ability to address the complex issues faced by a group burdened with £1.4 billion of debt.

This weekend's ballot will be decided by representatives of its independent societies and affiliated organisations - who hold 22% of the vote - and others voting on behalf of its regional membership boards making up the remaining 78%.

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