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Northern economy could see " Victorian style growth" says think tank

The northern economy could experience economic growth on a scale "not seen since the Victorian era of grand municipal development" if timely investment in the region takes place, a new report suggests.

Commitments to major transport infrastructure spending, strong leadership and a sense of urgency to progress devolution are the "key ingredients for turning northern powerhouse rhetoric into national economic prosperity", the research by think tank IPPR North concluded.

The analysis, entitled Rhetoric to Reality: A business agenda for the Northern Powerhouse, argues the potential exists for businesses in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber to grow, boosting the economy through "properly directed investment".

It notes the economy of the three northern regions is worth #289 billion - "twice the size of Scotland's, and bigger than all the devolved nations' economies combined", adding: "If it were a national economy, the north of England would rank as tenth largest in the EU."

It added: "The economies of the five biggest cities together grew by 38.8 per cent in the 10 years to 2013 - more than the UK outside London (38.3 per cent).

Their populations grew by over half a million (5.4 per cent) in the 10 years to 2014, which is more than live in the city of Manchester."

It went on: "In the last year, the rate of job creation in areas such as North Eastern (4.8%) and Leeds City Region (4.0%) was more than double the national rate of 1.9% (which is matched by the North as a whole)."

The report argued a rebalanced economy can only be achieved through tackling "lagging" productivity, under-investment in transport infrastructure spending, poor connectivity between cities in the north and lower qualifications and skills levels.

It stated that the prospects for the northern powerhouse's long-term success "rest not on its political salience but on its potential to generate genuine economic prosperity for its businesses and citizens".

The report identified four key drivers of growth in the northern economy, including: infrastructure and connectivity, human capital, innovation and business support, plus leadership and policy development.

It argued: "The forthcoming spending review must make a step-change in commitment to the north of England, with large-scale government capital spending of up to £50 billion that can be used to leverage even greater private investment."

It added: "There is an urgent need (for) more detail and more action to support the pan-northern vision - 'one north, one economy' - to ensure that business, public and civil sectors are galvanised to act now to sustain the momentum behind devolution and take advantage of this unprecedented window of opportunity."

"The historical economic under-performance of the north of England is not natural, nor is it inevitable. We have seen past attempts at 'regional policy' fall by the wayside, but the northern powerhouse has momentum and has galvanised leaders in the North. "But investment, leadership and urgency are the key ingredients for turning northern powerhouse rhetoric into national economic prosperity. The momentum is building, the benefits are great - the opportunity is there to be seized for northern prosperity to create national prosperity."

– Ed Cox, director of IPPR North and co-author of the report

Huddersfield man arrested for hacking

Credit: PA

An eighteen-year-old man from Huddersfield has been released on bail as part of an investigation in to hacking by the National Crime Agency. Five other men across the country were also arrested for allegedly using 'Lizard Stresser' - a programme that can take websites offline for up to eight hours at a time.

All six men are suspected of maliciously deploying Lizard Stresser, having bought the tool using alternative payment services such as Bitcoin in a bid to remain anonymous. Organisations believed to have been targeted by the suspects include a leading national newspaper, a school, gaming companies and a number of online retailers.

“By paying a comparatively small fee, tools like Lizard Stresser can cripple businesses financially and deprive people of access to important information and public services.

“This multi-agency operation illustrates the commitment of the NCA and its partners to pursuing people who think they can criminally disrupt important public services or legitimate businesses.”

“One of our key priorities is to engage with those on the fringes of cyber criminality, to help them understand the consequences of cyber crime and how they can channel their abilities into productive and lucrative legitimate careers.”

– Tony Adams, Head of Investigations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit

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Region's unemployment drops by 3,000

Unemployment in Yorkshire dropped by 3,000 in the quarter to June, official figures have revealed.

Credit: Press Association

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a total of 174,000 people were unemployed in the region between April and June.

The region's unemployment rate was 6.5% and saw a drop of 1.7% during the period.

Nationwide, unemployment increased for the second month in a row, reaching 1.85 million.

The jobless total went up by 25,000 in the quarter, the first time there have been two consecutive rises for two years.

The ONS said it was possible the jobs market was "levelling off".

Skegness summer trade up, despite poor weather

Tourism bosses and hoteliers in Skegness say they have seen an increase in trade so far this summer despite the lack of traditional good weather.

A family enjoy the beach at Skegness Credit: Press Association

Those in the industry think it comes as a result of more people chosing to holiday in the UK, when compared to 2014's figures.

Butlin's say trade is up on last year as they welcomes 500,000 people through their doors, year on year.

Bill Hutchinson, Manager of the Best Western North Shore hotel and Golf Course who speaks on behalf of the Hoteliers Association says they have also seen increased trade this summer.

Tata Steel confirm collapse of Swiss takeover

Tata Steel have confirmed that talks over a potential takeover of the company have ended.

4,000 jobs have been put in jeopardy following the collapse of the takeover Credit: Press Association

The company had been in talks with the Klesch Group, run by American billionaire Gary Klesch since October 2014.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Klesch said he was withdrawing in frustration at the government’s apparent lack of interest in old-economy industries.

The collapse of the deal has thrown the future of 4,000 jobs at the company's Scunthorpe plant into doubt.

The UK steel industry is faced with stiff headwinds in the shape of rising imports, uncompetitive energy prices, a strong pound and the lack of an industrial strategy for the steel sector.

– Karl Koehler, Tata Steel UK

Plans for Hull's new Hilton Hotel approved

Plans for a new Hilton hotel in Hull have been hailed as a valuable asset in the bid to attract visitors to the City of Culture celebrations.

Plans for the new Hilton Hotel in Hull have been approved Credit: Artist Impression

Councillors approved the 167 bedroomed complex today, adding that it would create local jobs and boost the economy. It will be built on the site of the former Lexington Avenue nightclub on Ferensway.

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Automatic planning permission for brown field sites

Leeds City Council has revealed there are currently planning approvals in place to build more than 17,000 homes, but more could be on the cards, built at a faster rate, if the Government's shake up of national planning guidelines gets the go ahead.

Houses being built Credit: ITV

The 'Fixing the Foundations’ package of national proposals aims to encourage more new homes by allowing developers automatic planning permission to build on suitable disused industrial ‘brownfield’ sites; they'll be enhanced compulsory purchase powers to allow more brownfield land to be made available for development; and the possibility of major housing projects to be fast-tracked.

But concerns have been raised by Leeds City Council, who need to provide permission for 70,000 new homes by 2028. They say they need to be sure a system's in place to prevent badly designed, unplanned environments, which are devoid of affordable accommodation.

It’s not just about saying which sites are suitable for housing, but getting other factors such as highways, design and affordable housing right before development takes place. There is a risk with the government’s proposals for ‘streamlining’ planning that you lose some of the detail that matters most to people.

– Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council

Hundreds of jobs to be lost as pit closures announced

Hundreds of miners across the region have found out exactly when their pits will close and when they'll be out of a job. Thoresby in North Nottinghamshire will shut in just over a month's time while redundancy letters will drop through 200 letter boxes tomorrow signalling the end for Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire. By the end of the year neither pit will be in operation leaving just one deep coal mine, Hatfield in South Yorkshire, providing coal in the Calendar region. Martin Fisher reports.

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