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Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday 21 February
  2. More news, sport, weather and travel updates from 08:00 on Wednesday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates from Merseyside and west Cheshire have finished for the day, but we'll be back from 08:00 on Wednesday with more of the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates.

Social care 'struggle' in Liverpool

A councillor in charge of Adult Social Care in Liverpool has said the authority is struggling to deal with falling budgets and increasing demand.

Paul Brant's comments come as a major care provider said businesses across the North West are questioning whether they can continue with the money councils pay them.

Drug-drive case dropped in Randox forensics review

A drug-driving case has been dropped following a review of blood test data from a forensics laboratory at the centre of a police investigation.

Tests
Thinkstock

Samples taken from the 26-year-old Chester man were analysed by Randox Testing Services (RTS) in Manchester.

Two employees at RTS were previously arrested over claims data may have been manipulated.

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was too little evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.

UKIP leader gives Hillsborough statement

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has been interviewed as part of the criminal inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster.

Paul Nuttall
Reuters

Mr Nuttall, who is standing in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, told the BBC he spent "three hours" on Monday giving a witness statement to Operation Resolve.

He was interviewed following claims he attended the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

The MEP faced a fierce backlash earlier this month over false claims he lost close friends in the tragedy.

Headlines from Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has been interviewed as part of the criminal inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster  
  • The Northern Powerhouse project is a "marathon" where change could happen "over many years", the former head of the civil service says
  • Tabitha Morton is named the Women's Equality party's candidate in the race to become metro mayor of the Liverpool city region

Football: Stoney recalled to England squad

BBC Sport

Liverpool defender Casey Stoney has been recalled to the England squad after recovering from injury for the SheBelieves Cup in the United States.

Casey Stoney heading the ball
Getty Images

England take on the three top-ranked teams in the world, USA, Germany and France, in the tournament.

They face France in their opener on 1 March in Pennsylvania.

The team will then face the hosts and world champions in New Jersey on 4 March and European and Olympic champions Germany in Washington on 7 March.

More from Sportsday - football news and gossip

'No reason to fear' Vauxhall job losses, Clark says

The business secretary, Greg Clark, has told MPs that Vauxhall workers in Luton and Ellesmere Port have no reason to fear for their jobs.

Greg Clark
BBC

His assurance came as he answered questions about the possible takeover of General Motors' European operations, including Vauxhall, by the French PSA.

PSA owns both Peugeot and Citroen and its interest in buying the GM businesses was announced last week.

Mr Clark met the PSA board and French industry minister last Friday.

Call the Midwife creator 'not bored' after six series

The Liverpool-born creator of the BBC drama Call the Midwife - which has been drawing 10m viewers - says she's staggered at its success.  

Jenny Agutter, Heidi Thomas, Stephen McGann and Laura Main
BBC

Heidi Thomas was joined by her husband Stephen McGann - also from the city - who plays Dr Turner and other stars when meeting international tv buyers at BBC Worldwide's annual export event in Liverpool.

She said the global appeal of Call the Midwife, which has sold to 237 territories, is "amazing".

I can sort of believe it but when you take a step back and you think, my God, I've been doing it for six years now, it's amazing.

I mean I love the programme with every fibre of my being. I'm not bored with it yet but it still staggers me that it's been so popular for so long now.

Heidi ThomasWriter, Call the Midwife

Northern Powerhouse project is a 'marathon'

The Northern Powerhouse project is a "marathon" where change could happen "over many years", the former head of the civil service has said.

Liverpool Liver birds building, Blackpool Tower and Manchester Town Hall
Getty Images

Lord Kerslake said that the leadership that was needed to drive the initiative had to come from the region itself in a keynote speech opening the UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference in Manchester.

As chairman of the UK Northern Powerhouse Advisory board, he said that there was a need for a "major shift" of power away from London.

He added it had become "increasingly clear that a successful Northern Powerhouse is essential to the country if it is going to tackle the deep structural economic problems we face and create a more unified country".

Severe disruption: M56 Cheshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M56 Cheshire eastbound severe disruption, between J14 for A5117 and J12 for A557.

M56 Cheshire - One lane closed on M56 eastbound between J14, A5117 (Hapsford) and J12, A557 (Runcorn), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Headlines from Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • UKIP leader Paul Nuttall says he has given a witness statement to the criminal investigation into the Hillsborough disaster
  • Tabitha Morton is named the Women's Equality party's candidate in the race to become metro mayor of the Liverpool city region
  • Bosses at Liverpool's community advice service are calling for an overhaul of the benefits system for disabled people

Student teaches English to refugees in Calais

A student has been splitting his time between university and helping refugees in France.

Dan Chapman
Edge Hill University

Dan Chapman, from Ormskirk, volunteers with the charity Care4Calais and has spent around seven weeks teaching English to refugees who are still living in the area of the former Jungle Camp.

The 18-year-old, who studies social work at Edge Hill University, was inspired to help out after hearing about volunteering during a talk at his former school.

Benefits advisers concern over PIPs

Benefits advisers in Liverpool are warning of a crisis over changes to the payment of allowances.

nurse holds person's hand
Thinkstock

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is gradually being replaced by a Personal Independence Payment - or PIP. 

Marie Rimmer, MP for St Helens South, used her first Commons appearance in her new role as Shadow Work and Pensions Minister to criticise its introduction. 

Ministers have argued that savings would be invested in a new support package for the most vulnerable.  

Kristian Khan, manager of Liverpool Community Advice, says most of their drop-in appointments are with people worried about PIP.

If one benefit is to go it can lead to the loss of other things as well which have really helped and support somebody to live their day-to-day live with their long-term health condition.

Kristian KhanLiverpool Community Advice

Stars attend TV exports event

Time for some light relief - a plethora of TV stars are in Liverpool for the BBC Worldwide showcase.

stars from Call the Midwife, Ab Fab, Detah in Paradise and Top Gear and Gary Barlow
BBC

More than 700 buyers have travelled to the city for the annual event, which exports British TV programmes abroad.

Stars from popular shows Call the Midwife, Absolutely Fabulous, Sherlock and Death in Paradise were at a gala event at ACC Liverpool last night to promote their shows to foreign broadcasters. 

Matt Le Blanc joined his Top Gear co-stars while Take That's Gary Barlow was highlighting the success of Let It Shine.

The demand for British drama continues to rise as global audiences are captivated by both the range and quality of our writing, acting and production.

Paul Dempsey, BBC Worldwide

Sherlock and Doctor Who writers Mark Gatiss - who has also starred in both shows - and Steven Moffat seemed thrilled with the latest addition to the Who-niverse...

View more on twitter

Headlines from Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • UKIP leader Paul Nuttall says he has given a witness statement to the criminal investigation into the Hillsborough disaster
  • Tabitha Morton is named the Women's Equality party's candidate in the race to become metro mayor of the Liverpool city region
  • Bosses at Liverpool's community advice service are calling for an overhaul of the benefits system for disabled people

Nuttall 'gives witness statement' to criminal probe into Hillsborough disaster

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall says he has given a witness statement to the criminal investigation into the Hillsborough disaster.

Paul Nuttall
PA

The parliamentary hopeful told BBC Radio 5 Live's Breakfast show he spent "three hours yesterday morning in Operation Resolve giving a witness statement". 

Operation Resolve examined events up to and including the day of the disaster, including the police planning and preparation, ground design and the emergency response.  

During a separate radio hustings with other candidates in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, the party leader insisted he had apologised to the "people that matter".  

Mr Nuttall faced a fierce backlash and calls to resign as an MEP after it emerged claims that he lost close personal friends at Hillsborough were false.

Yesterday the party's two senior officials in Merseyside resigned in protest at the "crass insensitivity" over the disaster.

Exploring Liverpool's Georgian District

The actress Alison Steadman has been looking at Liverpool’s Georgian district with historian Melissa Conboy as part of new BBC One series Britain's Home Truths

An early example of suburbia, it remains one of the largest Georgian districts in the UK.  

Plans proposed for hospital cuts

Plans have been put forward to cut hospital services in two-thirds of England, a BBC analysis shows.  

Royal Liverpool Hospital
Getty Images

Cheshire and Merseyside will have a funding gap of £908m by 2020-21 if nothing is done.

There are plans to invest in improving services delivered outside of hospital settings, such as primary, social and community care alongside mental health services.

How the NHS system works

Authorities hope to manage demand by encouraging individual preventative actions such as getting blood pressure checked outside formal settings, for example in your local pharmacy.

The area also plans to review where there is inconsistency of care, with the possibility of merging and sharing some services. 

There has been controversy over plans to possibly merge some of the Liverpool trusts, particularly plans to move the women’s hospital from Toxteth to a site next to the new Royal Liverpool in the city centre. 

Moors Murderer Ian Brady loses lawyer tribunal fight

Moors Murderer Ian Brady, who is at Maghull's Ashworth Hospital, has been refused permission to launch a High Court fight to have the lawyer of his choice represent him at a tribunal.

Ian Brady
PA

Aided by his lover Myra Hindley, Brady kidnapped, abused and murdered five children and teenagers in the 1960s.

The 79-year-old, who lost a bid to move to a prison at a mental health review in 2013, wanted to challenge a ban on Robin Makin representing him at a future tribunal.

Mr Makin's solicitors' firm, E Rex Makin & Co, is not a member of the Law Society's mental health panel.

The case was dismissed as "unarguable".

Women's Equality Party name mayoral candidate

A fifth candidate in the race to become metro mayor of the Liverpool city region has been announced.

Tabitha Morton
WEP

Tabitha Morton from Netherton in Liverpool is standing for the Women's Equality party, which launched in 2015.

The election takes place on 4 May. 

Liverpool is the only region in which the party is fielding a candidate.

Other candidates include:

  • Tony Caldeira - Conservative
  • Carl Cashman - Liberal Democrat
  • Tom Crone - Green Party
  • Steve Rotheram - Labour

Weather: Cloud and rain

BBC Weather

A mild but fresh-feeling day although rain is expected in the afternoon and later on at night.

Good morning!

Rumeana Jahangir

Reporter, BBC News Online

We'll bring you news, sport, weather and travel from across Merseyside and west Cheshire. 

Here are this morning's headlines: 

  • Tabitha Morton is named the Women's Equality party's candidate in the race to become metro mayor of the Liverpool city region
  • Bosses at Liverpool's community advice service are calling for an overhaul of the benefits system for disabled people
  • Moors Murderer Ian Brady, who is at Maghull's Ashworth Hospital, is refused permission to launch a High Court fight to have the lawyer of his choice