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One in six children not eating enough in school holidays

by Rachel Townsend

It is claimed children in the North West are not getting enough food to eat during the summer holidays.

Research carried out by Kellogs reveals that families are struggling to provide for their children during the six week break.

The same research also reveals that teachers in the North West have reported some children returning from the school holidays showing signs of weight loss.

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Children go hungry during school holidays

Pupils in the North West are going hungry during the school holidays according to new figures. Kellog's claim almost 20 per cent of parents struggle to feed their children three meals a day and over a quarter claim the holidays put an extra burden on their food budget.. Victoria Hale, from Manchester, said making ends meet is often difficult

81 households at risk of losing home everyday

81 households are at risk of losing their home every day in the North West according to new research. Homeless charity Shelter says based on information from the Ministry of Justice almost 30 thousand homes in the region were at risk of eviction or repossession last year.

It also identified the latest hotspots across the region where people are most likely to face losing their home, with Salford and Halton topping the list. Other hotspots in the region's top ten included West Lancashire, Manchester and Liverpool.

The housing and homelessness charity is warning that sky high housing costs are pushing more and more families in the North West to the brink. Shelter is currently struggling to meet demand for its services and is calling for support so that it can help more people stay in their homes. Since 2011, across the country the charity has seen the number of callers struggling with rent arrears more than double, while those calling about mortgage arrears rose by nearly a fifth.

"81 households at risk of losing their home every day is 81 too many. Each one of these will have had their lives turned upside down by this experience, as they faced seeing their home, the foundation of their life, ripped away from underneath them.

Tragically we are seeing more and more people coming to us for help, people who have been struggling to make ends meet and then just one change of circumstances has pushed them spiralling towards homelessness. We urgently need people's support so we can help more people in the North West avoid the nightmare of losing their home."

– Campbell Robb, chief executive

Sex workers attacked weekly in the North West

New figures have revealed there have been 922 reported crimes against prostitutes in the UK in the past two years.

According to information received by the so-called Ugly Mugs scheme a quarter of those reported were rapes, while 39% were sexual assaults and 44% were violent attacks.

In the North West region police received 176 reports. The Ugly Mugs project collects information on violent and potentially dangerous clients, and circulates it to sex workers on an online database.

Sex workers can anonymously report rapists and robbers by phone or online, helping police to build intelligence and identify serial offenders.

Alex Bryce, manager of the National Ugly Mugs scheme, said: "Sex workers have the right to police protection and this sends the message that, as far as the Met police is concerned, there is no grade of victim and crimes against sex workers will be taken seriously."

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Skills shortage in the North West says new report

A report by The Prince's Trust says urgent action is needed to stop a skills crisis in the North West. The research from the trust and HSBC suggests almost three-quarters of North West businesses believe a significant skills crisis will hit their organisations within the next three years (73 per cent).

The report, based on interviews with UK business leaders including those from the North West, suggests that 75 per cent believe that the recruitment of young people into the workforce is vital to avert a skills crisis.

Forty-one per cent of businesses surveyed in the North West are already experiencing skills gaps within their organisations and more than half have been unable to fill vacancies over the past year as a result (55 per cent).

Chris Peake, senior head of programmes for The Prince’s Trust in the North West, said: “It is deeply concerning that employers in the North West are struggling to fill vacancies when we have thousands of unemployed young people who are desperate for work. The current economic recovery is encouraging, but in order to sustain this growth, UK plc needs to invest in the next generation to avoid a skills vacuum in the future.

"We are urging businesses to take action now to up-skill the workforce of the future to prevent the bubbling skills crisis from boiling over.”

The economic recovery has seen 70 per cent of North West businesses reporting increased demand for their services over the past 12 months, with 61 per cent saying that they are growing faster than this time last year. However, more than half of those surveyed pinpoint faster growth as the cause of current UK skills gaps (52 per cent) and 44 per cent cite their ageing workforce as a concern.

The Prince’s Trust aims to help 58,000 unemployed young people this year, providing vocational training in sectors with identified skills shortages such as construction, retail and logistics.

In response to the findings, the youth charity is calling on more employers to help increase the number of young people it can support this year.

Unemployment in North West falls by 10,000

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Fall in unemployment in the North West Credit: PA

Unemployment in the North West has decreased by 10,000 in the quarter to May, official figures have revealed.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a total of 253,000 people were unemployed in the region between March and May.

The region's unemployment rate was 7.3% and saw a drop of 3.8% during the period.

Thousands in North West stage day of strike action

Public sector workers say they are the forgotten army which provides vital services like teaching, waste collection, firefighting and protecting the vulnerable.

Today many thousands of them took to the streets right across our region in a strike over their pay.

The Government says striking only disrupts people's lives. Many parents left to cover childcare say it's unfair.

Our correspondent Rachel Townsend reports:

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