The State of Britain

Addlington and Dudlow’s Green the wealthiest parts of the region with Blackpool South the poorest, Cheshire and Warrington LEP the most productive but the best growth seen in Lancashire

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The ONS has published average household disposal income estimates for England and Wales for 2018. The incomes shown are after tax and housing costs are taken off. The analysis has shown that 87% of local areas had an average household income of between £22,500 and £39,200; within this over a third were between £28,000 and £33,600.

Of the 50 areas with the highest total incomes, 41 were in London, with the lowest incomes more widely spread across England and Wales. The North East, East England, London, and the South East had no local areas in the bottom 50.

The wealthiest area in England and Wales was Mickleover in Derby with incomes of £52,200 and the poorest was Highfield North in Leicester with £12,500. The two areas are 30 miles from each other and ranked 7200 places apart.

The wealthiest areas of the North West were the Addlington area of Cheshire and the Dudlow’s Green of Warrington with incomes of £39,800. This ranked the areas 184th out of the 7,201 districts of the UK recorded. The poorest area of the region was Blackpool South with £13,300. This area was ranked 7,199 out of the 7,201 areas of the UK recorded.

Last month the ONS published analysis which showed that like most regions of the UK, output per hour in the NW is below the UK average. Productivity per hour in the NW was 8.4% below the UK average which ranked the region fifth nationally for 2018. One reason for this is the high levels of hours worked and high productivity in London and the South East which pulls up the UK average so much that all other regions fall below it.  

The ONS has now released data for a longer period and at a subregional level. This gives further insight into the NW’s performance.

First, the 2018 results for the 44 enterprise regions in the UK, which comprise the 38 English local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and six enterprise regions in Scotland, Wales and the border regions.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP had the best productivity (in terms of hours) in 2018 at 35% above the UK average, whereas the Black Country LEP at -24% was the worst.

At +6%, the Cheshire and Warrington LEP was one of eight economic regions which beat the UK average and was ranked 5th, all of the NW’s other LEPs recorded productivity below the UK average. Liverpool City region was 19th at 8% below, Lancashire LEP 23rd and Greater Manchester 25th at -11% but the worst regional performer was Cumbria at -14% which ranked it 29th.

In terms of productivity growth between 2010 and 2018, the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP was top with growth of 16%. Twelve economic regions recorded productivity levels lower in 2018 than 2010. The worst performer was the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP which saw productivity drop by 11%.

The NW’s results for productivity growth (rather than overall productivity) were more mixed. With growth of 8.8% Lancashire was the regional star and was ranked 3rd nationally, just beating Cumbria which was ranked fourth with 7.5% growth. Cheshire and Warrington LEP grew by 3.8% and was ranked 15th but the region’s other two LEPs recorded productivity levels lower in 2018 than 2010. Greater Manchester was -0.5% and was ranked 36th which was four places better than Liverpool City region at -3.3%.

On subregions rather then enterprise areas, with the exception of Cheshire East (+8%) and Greater Manchester South West (+0.3%), all of the NW’s subregions recorded productivity below the UK average. Greater Manchester North East had the lowest productivity in the region, 27% below the UK average.

The growth in hours worked between 2010 and 2018 in Greater Manchester was 17%, just beating Cheshire which recorded 16%. In UK terms this level of growth was in the top ten of the country’s 41 subregions. Merseyside grew by 9% and Lancashire by 7% but Cumbria recorded a decline of 3.7%, the only part of the UK to do so.

If the increase in economic output is factored in then the sub regional performances are similar to the geographically associated LEPs. So despite Cumbria recording a decline of 3.7% in hours worked, it was ranked 7th in the UK with growth of c8%.

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region was 16,000 higher at 163,000 between November and January; the uplift of 0.4% took the rate to 4.4%. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.4%, the North East the highest at 6.2%, with the UK rate at 3.9%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 80% which compared with 75.8% in the NW where 3.5m are employed; the UK rate was 76.5%.

The NW’s average property price decreased by 1.5% to £164,769 during the month which took the annual increase to 2.1%. In comparison, UK prices decreased by 1.1% to £231,185 during January, an annual growth rate of 1.3%.