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Greater Manchester ‘utopia’ named one of the best UK towns to live in

A well-deserved win

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Anthony O'Neil / Geograph

The Sunday Times has named the best place to live in the UK, as well as the best area in each region, and a Greater Manchester town made the cut.

While Manchester made the shortlist – especially the area near Piccadilly station which was commended for its redevelopment – it didn’t take the top spot.

Altrincham was crowned the Best Place to Live in the North West of England, chosen from a shortlist of eight different locations across the region.

According to the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide, Altrincham is where ‘suburbia meets utopia’.

Judges praised the market town’s schools, and The Sunday Times Parent Power guide named the girls’ grammar ‘the North West state secondary school of the decade’, while the boys’ grammar came in second.

Anthony O’Neil / Geograph

The area’s green spaces were ranked highly, including Dunham Massey, Stamford Park and the River Bollin.

Judges were very impressed with the market and food hall, which are seen by many as being responsible for the regeneration of the town’s centre, and the tram route into central Manchester was also taken into consideration.

While Altrincham was actually honoured as the overall winner of The Sunday Times Best Place to Live in Britain guide last year, Stroud in Gloucestershire took the crown for 2021.

Seven other locations were chosen from across the region for the North West shortlist, including Manchester, Saddleworth, Knutsford, Bollington, Liverpool, Kirkby Lonsdale, Arnside and Silverdale.

Rept0n1x / Wikimedia

Helen Davies, The Times and Sunday Times property editor, said: “Our focus for this year has been community, countryside and convenience.

“It hasn’t been a year for big cities or small villages. Instead, it is small towns that have shone: big enough to have everything you need within walking distance and small enough for everyone to feel connected.

“Altrincham was chosen as our regional winner this year as it has everything you want in a suburb: parks, excellent transport links and top-class schools.”

She added: “The inspirational market and food hall that transformed the town centre from the worst in Britain to a favourite destination have continued to show their value, even during the pandemic.”

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Shocking comparison between England Lionesses’ wages and their male counterparts

It is hoped that the success of the Women’s Euros will close the gender pay gap

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Following the Lionesses Women’s Euro 2022 victory last weekend, the shocking comparison between their wages and that of their male counterparts has started coming to light.

The Lionesses’ bonus for finally bringing football home after fifty-six years of hurt was £55,000 per player, a seemingly handsome sum. 

However, it is just a small fraction of the bonus the men’s team took home after coming in second during the Euro 2020 tournament last year.

The men were each awarded a bonus of £300,000, and could’ve have taken an even higher sum of £460,000 home if they had beaten Italy to the title. 

A BBC study claims Women’s Super League (WSL) players earn £47,000 a year on average, while the average wage of a Premier League player is £60,000 – a week. 

The only aspect of equality in the game is payment to each player for an England appearance, with both the men and women’s team being paid £2,000 for each appearance.

The significant gender pay gap can be put down to the amount of money individual clubs bring in – for example, Manchester City’s mens team reported £571m in turnover for the 2020-21 season.

According to Deloitte, the club spent 62% of that revenue on players’ wages, which works out at £354m.

Manchester City’s Women’s Super League team, however, reported a significantly lower turnover of £2.9m for 2020-21, with its wage bill reported at £3.3m.

Though it isn’t all doom and gloom for women’s football, with wages slowly on the increase.

England Captain Leah Williamson reportedly earns £200,000 a year, while right-back Lucy Bronze is also said to have been in a similar wage bracket when she was at Manchester City before her transfer to Barcelona this summer.

And things are looking up for the Lionesses as they consider brand deals, sponsorships and off-field collaborations with big names such as Pepsi, Gucci and Nike, all of which will increase the club’s revenue. 

Pay could also increase as a result of the tournament’s success, which saw a record attendance for any Euro game at Wembley for the final.

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Bury swimmer James Guy wins SIX medals at the Commonwealth Games

James also brought home gold at last year’s Olympic Games

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@james.g.guy / Instagram

A swimmer from Bury will be bringing home an astonishing six medals from the Commonwealth Games. 

After winning three silvers and two bronze at the Birmingham games, James Guy concluded his week with gold as part of the England team 4 x 100 metres medley relay after beating their Australian rivals.

These medals join his Olympics 2021 success in Team GB’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay team, where he brought home gold. 

Although winning gold is the dream, James says the medal he is most proud of this week is the silver he won for the 100 metres butterfly event.

He told ITV News: “I just haven’t got that race right this year just generally and tactically but this meet I wanted to swim it right and swim it how I usually do it.

“I trusted myself, believed what I was doing and believed in myself.”

He added: “It’s been a really good year this year. I think to get six medals at our home games is fantastic. I never really look at the results, I just try and see what I can do in my individual races and my team races. 

“Six medals is a nice accomplishment… I didn’t realise how many I’d won until I finished racing, but to finally get a gold on the last event and to beat the Australians… Yeah, a really really good week, and a nice start for the English team in Birmingham.”

James, who was awarded an MBE for his services to swimming earlier this year, was born in Bury and grew up in Altrincham, where he took up swimming lessons when he was four.

However, swimming wasn’t his only passion, with his childhood being full of different sports and activities. He said: “When I was younger I was obsessed with Bruce Lee. I used to do kung fu twice a week, gymnastics, football and even lacrosse.

“I was just a normal kid trying everything. Eventually swimming took over and it went from there.”

James swam at the Trafford Metros swimming club and went on to win a swimming scholarship at Millfield public school in Somerset, where he now lives. 

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Campaign group urges Brits to stop paying their energy bills in protest of soaring costs

‘It can only work if we show the powers that be that we would not stand for being treated as cash cows’

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Brits should boycott their energy bills this October in protest of the soaring costs, a campaign group has proposed this week.

As the cost of living crisis continues to take its toll, Don’t Pay UK is on a mission to get one million people to pledge to cancel their bills in a bid to force energy companies to reduce monthly costs.

The group says that if even a fraction of the million that they want on board agree to stop paying their energy bills, they will be able to bring companies to the negotiating table.

This comes after Ofgem announced the energy price cap will be updated every three months rather than every six months, as it warned that customers face a ‘very challenging winter ahead’.

Analysts at Cornwall Insight also predicted that the price cap is on track to rise to an astonishing £3,615 a year from January, adding further pressure on households. 

In response to this, Don’t Pay UK has devised a three-step plan:

Build support.

The group is currently setting up email lists and is on TikTok, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter to spread its message. Zoom calls are also being organised, as are as in-person meet-ups. They are also printing flyers and stickers in a bid to bring people together.

A statement on the group’s website reads: “We’ll need people, organisations and community groups to do all of this too, building this up street by street, estate by estate and city by city.

“The first step is to get thousands of people like you to say you support the strike.”

Gather a million pledges.

Don’t Pay UK has stressed that the only way they can get their message across is by turning out in serious numbers to show energy companies that they have some power.

A statement reads: “One million sounds like a lot, but millions more will already be thinking about whether they’ll be able to pay come winter and afford the other things they need to survive for them and their families.

“Even more of us will be angry about paying more than double what we used to pay for the same amount we use. Let alone food, petrol and mortgages.”

Cancel direct debits if price increases go ahead.

If the government and energy companies have not reduced bills by October 1st, the group say they will take action by cancelling their direct debits. They hope that by everybody doing this on the same day, they will be able to send a strong message to energy companies.

Their website reads: “It can only work if we believe in each other and show the powers that be that we would not stand for being treated as cash cows.”

To read more about the Don’t Pay UK movement, visit the official website here.

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