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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

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Barrow among 'unhappiest' places in the UK

Barrow-in-Furness has been named as the "unhappiest" place in the country according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Barrow Town Hall Credit: ITV Granada

The ONS compiles reports on wellbeing from various factors including "health, relationships, job satisfaction, economic security, education, environmental conditions".

Barrow and South Ribble were in the five least happy areas of the UK, along with Dartford in Kent, Torridge in Devon and Maldon, Essex

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.

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:

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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."

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