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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

Police appeal for missing Sheffield man

Police in Sheffield are asking for your help locating missing 32-year-old Robert Brown.

Missing Robert Brown Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Robert was last seen at around 10am this morning at his home in Lowedges Road, Sheffield.

Robert is described as being around 5ft 6ins tall, with brown shaven hair. He has a tattoo on his upper left arm which says something similar to ‘only the strong survive’.

He is known to have links to Derbyshire.

Officers are becoming increasingly concerned for Robert’s welfare and urge anyone who sees him to get in touch.

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Brook to face Chaves in third world title defence

Kell Brook will defend his IBF World Welterweight title against Diego Chaves at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on October 24.

Credit: Press Association

Brook makes the third defence of his crown after beating mandatory challenger Jo Jo Dan in four rounds in March and then stopping Frankie Gavin in six rounds at The O2.

Argentinian Chaves enters the clash on the back of a split draw with Timothy Bradley having also taken on Brandon Rios and Keith Thurman in his last four fights.

Chaves is a rough, tough, durable fighter who is very dangerous. He’s coming off a draw to Tim Bradley, was ahead on the cards against Brandon Rios until he was disqualified and gave Keith Thurman a solid fight so we know what level he has mixed at and how good he is.

I'm so excited about boxing in my home town of Sheffield again. London last time out was a great experience fighting in front of nearly 20,000 but I’m excited to be back there – it is my home. I’m looking to excite like I always do and light up the Motorpoint Arena on October 24.

– Kell Brook

Jessica Ennis-Hill involved in charity golf tournament

Sheffield star Jessica Ennis-Hill has taken part in a charity golf tournament at Hallamshire Golf Club today.

The Olympic champion recently won heptathlon gold at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

Several other sporting stars including Alan Shearer and jockey AP McCoy were involved in The Dan Walker Golf Day, a private tournament which aims to raise £30,000 for Sheffield Children's Hospital.

Jessica Ennis-Hill putting on the 18th Credit: ITV News
Jessica Ennis-Hill with the event organiser Dan Walker Credit: ITV News
Celebrities line up ahead of the tournament Credit: ITV News
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