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Giant ‘get well soon’ message left in snow outside hospital

Patients at Royal Hallamshir­e Hospital were delighted to see a giant “get well soon” message carved out in the snow on top of the car park opposite during the cold snap. The heavy snow in South Yorkshire may have caused travel chaos for some but for those at Royal Hallamshir­e the inclement weather led to a message of hope.

“Proper good job, thanks to those who did it,” tweeted Paul Harris, 44, from Kidsgrove in Staffordsh­ire. Mr Harris, who has pulmonary arterial hypertensi­on and raises money for

Pulmonary Hypertensi­on Associatio­n UK, said he attends the Sheffield hospital roughly every six months for check-ups, and was on the 13th floor when he spotted the message in the snow on Thursday. “I don’t know how many rooms have that view but it’s the main profile of the hospital so there must have been probably 100 windows at least it could be seen from, easily,” he said.

Tory MP ‘not confident’ on rough sleeping pledge

A Conservati­ve MP and leading campaigner on homelessne­ss has warned the government is not on track to end rough sleeping by 2024. Bob Blackman, chair of the All-Party Parliament­ary Group on Ending Homelessne­ss, cited recent figures suggesting an increase in rough sleeping and warned a strategy “revision” is needed.

The 2019 Conservati­ve Party manifesto committed to ending rough sleeping by the end of this parliament. Mr Blackman, MP for Harrow East, said: “I’m not confident the government is on track to achieve the target. One of the things homelessne­ss charities, be it Crisis, Shelter or others, are flagging up is there’s a risk here that we could miss the target and the people that are obviously in need of assistance are increasing all the time.”

Figures released at the end of February showed the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough in England had risen for the first time since 2017. A snapshot of a single night in autumn last year found 3,069 people sleeping rough, up 626 (26 per cent) on the equivalent total for 2021 and nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) above the level in 2010 when the figures began. PA

Third of Scots say Forbes should be next first minister

A third of Scots think Kate Forbes is the best candidate to be Scotland’s next first minister, with a new poll indicating the Scottish finance secretary may be extending her lead over her rivals. Pollsters at Panelbase asked Scots which of the three contenders running to succeed Nicola Sturgeon would be the

best first minister – with 33 per cent backing Ms Forbes, up by 10 points from a previous poll.

Meanwhile, some 18 per cent backed Scottish health secretary Humza Yousaf as the best candidate for first minister, with this up by three points. Support for former community safety minister Ash Regan was also up by this amount to 10 per cent, according to the poll, carried out for the pro-independen­ce Scot Goes Pop blog. When the 36 per cent of people who did not express an opinion were excluded, the poll showed 53 per cent backed Ms Forbes, ahead of 30 per cent for Mr Yousaf and 17 per cent for Ms Regan.

Panelbase also found Ms Forbes was the most popular of the three candidates among those who voted for independen­ce in 2014 and those who voted for the SNP in both the 2019 Westminste­r election and the 2021 Scottish parliament ballot. The poll questioned 1,013 people across Scotland, with the research taking place between Tuesday 7 March and Friday 10 March. PA

NI economy transforme­d since Good Friday Agreement

Northern Ireland’s economy has been transforme­d since the Good Friday Agreement, analysis has concluded. Since the accord was signed in 1998, outside investment, trade, tourism and investment in infrastruc­ture have increased prosperity and life expectancy, and attracted new residents to the country.

Tourism is the sector to have benefited most, with the number of overseas visitors having more than doubled from 1.3 million to 3 million. Scheduled air routes to the region more than tripled, handling 8.8 million passengers (up from 4.4 million in 1998), while the number of annual cruise visitors leapt from just over 1,000 to 280,000 in 2019.

One of the most notable changes identified has been the growth of Northern Ireland’s private sector and a reduction in the region’s traditiona­l reliance on public sector jobs. This has included investment in sectors such as cybersecur­ity, fintech

and analytics, which have helped position the region as a worldleadi­ng tech hub

GDP more than doubled from £19.8bn in 1998 to £43.7bn in 2020, according to the economic analysis by trade and investment advisory firm OCO Global. Overall it found the economy has performed well with average GDP per capita having increased from £13,391 to £25,575, one of the largest improvemen­ts of any UK region. PA

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 ?? ?? Cold comfort: a message for patients at Royal Hall am shire Hospital( PA)
Cold comfort: a message for patients at Royal Hall am shire Hospital( PA)

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