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Manchester is to receive a pounds 21m aid package to begin the restoration of its bomb-damaged city centre, the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine, said yesterday. It will include pounds 20m to be injected after a reallocation of European funds and pounds 1m to help prepare a master plan for the redevelopment.

Mr Heseltine announced the creation of a city centre task force, under the chairmanship of industrialist Sir Alan Cockshaw, to oversee the project, following the massive bombing more than two weeks ago which was estimated to have caused damage of pounds 500m. He said owners of the most badly bomb- damaged buildings, including Marks & Spencer and P&O, operators of the giant Arndale Centre, had been involved in negotiations.