What really is the state of Sheffield?

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SHEFFIELD is a ‘vibrant, resilient city’ developing a reputation as a world-leading centre for advanced manufacturing – which is set to create 58,000 jobs in the next three years.

Meanwhile, the proportion of men and women in work – 68 per cent and 60 per cent – is better than the average among the UK’s biggest cities.

The good news is revealed in the latest State of Sheffield report, an annual publication by the city’s political and business leaders.

Despite £50 million of council cuts in 2013/14 and more years of public sector misery to follow, Sheffield is ‘responding positively to some of the worst impacts of the wider national and international circumstances’.

But the report reveals there are still significant challenges, with 58,500 households – almost a quarter of the total – and 22,000 children said to be living in poverty.

Numbers are measured in terms of benefit claimants and income below the national average.

There is also inequality between rich and poor areas of Sheffield which means a 10-year difference in life expectancy.

Pollution is deemed an issue that must be tackled – with the problem said to be causing up to 500 premature deaths annually and costing health authorities £160 million each year.

Meanwhile, the population is set to grow from 550,000 to 600,000 people by the end of the decade – mostly due to high birth rates among new communities.

Sheffield Council leader, Coun Julie Dore, said: “The report shows we have much to be proud of, however there will always be challenges.”

Professor Gordon Dabinett, of Sheffield University, who compiled the report, said: “The report will be used to influence how key organisations work together to boost the quality of life and economic fortunes of Sheffield.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Liberal Democrat opposition leader on Sheffield Council, said: “The report tells how a number of things are looking positive for the city – making a difference from all of the recent doom and gloom.”