The State of Britain

YH

The regional economy shrinks by 5.4% following lockdown but data for an earlier period shows good growth and the Job Retention Scheme helps push regional unemployment down

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A nowcast for Y&H for the 12 months ended June 2020 on a rolling 4 quarter basis, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the Y&H economy contracted by 5.4%.

This ranked the Y&H fourth in the UK and suggests the regional economy has so far coped ‘better’ with the pandemic relative to the other eleven UK ‘regions’. Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 4.5%, with London’s 7.4% contraction the ‘worst’; the UK decline according to the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’) figures was 5.3%.

ESCoE is a partnership of research institutions and the ONS and has highlighted that during these unprecedented times, there is no historical data that their model can use to fully understand how the pandemic will impact regional economies. Consequently the partnership emphasises the uncertainties that exist with their nowcast at this time.

ONS GDP to December 2019

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects Brexit uncertainty rather than Covid 19 turmoil, show the region stable relative to other parts of the UK. Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September 2019, the ONS has now published its fifth estimate for Y&H, the other eight English regions, and Wales. GDP figures have been available for the UK since the 1940s, for Scotland since 2002 and Northern Ireland since 2013.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended December 2019 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed Y&H grew by 1%, a deterioration on 2% the previous quarter. This placed Y&H third (previous ranking second) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London topped the table with growth of 5% whilst UK growth over the same period was 0.9%. The West Midlands was again the worst performer and contracted by 2.7%. The North East, Wales, East Midlands and the North West were the other ‘regions’ in the UK to suffer a decline.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures highlighted that the standalone quarter to December 2019 showed a worsening picture in Y&H with the data poorer than the previous quarter. The Y&H economy contracted by 0.4% in October to December 2019, following +1.1% in July to September 2019.

This placed Y&H sixth (previous ranking third) out of the twelve UK ‘regions. Y&H was one of seven regions of the UK that saw their economies contract but overall UK growth was flat.

The South West was top with quarterly growth of 0.8% whilst the North East was bottom, posting a drop of 1.3%.

In this period, Y&H’s best sector was financial with growth of 4.8% but mining fell by 3.9%. Overall production was -1.9%, construction -1.3%, services 0% and agriculture 0.3%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to depress unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was 15,000 lower at 101,000 between April and June; the drop of 0.5% took the rate to 3.8%. At 5.2% the North East was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.5%, with the UK rate at 3.9%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 79.7%, this compared with 71.7% in Northern Ireland and 74.4% in Y&H where 2.6m are employed; the UK rate was 76.4%.

Housing

Y&H’s average property price fell by 0.1% in April 2020 to £165,561. The drop took the annual uplift to 2.3%. In comparison, UK prices dropped by 0.2% to £234,612 during April, an annual growth rate of 2.6%.

The ONS data is based on completed housing transactions. Typically, a house purchase can take 6 to 8 weeks to reach completion so the price data in the April figures will therefore reflect those completions that occurred before lockdown.

This is the first publication of the UK HPI since it was suspended in May 2020. The UK Property Transactions Statistics for April 2020 showed that that between March 2020 and April 2020, transactions decreased by 55.5%.

Job losses begin to mount, incomes in North Yorkshire £8K more than in Hull despite the East Riding posting the best growth

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With the job retention scheme reducing support from 1 August key regional employers have begun scaling back their workforces.

Doncaster based rail refurbishment firm Wabtec could see nearly half its workforce go as demand for its services continues to drop; up to 450 jobs are under threat at the South Yorkshire factory.

Sheffield based, Technicut, which specialises in solid rotary cutting tools for the aerospace industry, has also confirmed it is planning job cuts.

Virgin Money is resuming its bank closure and job loss plans which were put on hold at the start of the coronavirus crisis. Virgin Money will shut 22 branches and merge 30 more into nearby sites, as well as rebranding all Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank branches as Virgin Money.

The Newcastle headquartered bank had previously announced plans to cut 500 jobs and close or merge 52 branches across the country but the programme was suspended with the Covid-19 outbreak. The restructuring will restart in August but due to the panedemic immediate job cuts are 200 fewer than those previously announced. The firm aims to cut c16% of its combined workforce – some 1,500 jobs – following CYBG’s £1.7bn takeover of Virgin Money in 2018.

On the tourist sector, modelling from York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership projects up to 20,000 job losses due to Covid. Last month P&O Ferries announced 122 job losses on the lines between Hull and Zeebrugge and Rotterdam as well as some officers and shore-side staff on the same routes.

Also Leeds City Council is facing a budget overspend of c£200m this year and may cut 415 full-time equivalent jobs.

In a vote of confident in Yorkshire, iconic Harrogate Spring Water will be acquired by the French company Danone after the Competition and Markets Authority approved the deal. Danone already owns the Evian and Volvic brands. The spring water was first bottled in 1740 and the company claims it is the UK’s oldest bottled water company.

The Stats

This month the ONS published regional household disposal income figures for 2018. Total gross disposable household income (GDHI) in the UK in 2018 was £1.4bn. Of that, 86.3% was in England, 7.6% was in Scotland, 3.8% was in Wales and 2.3% was in Northern Ireland.

The average UK income per head after direct and indirect taxes were taken off was £21,109.  England was the only country above the UK average at £21,609 but growth in incomes was best in Scotland and Northern Ireland at 5.1% and 4.7%. England’s growth was the same as the UK at 4.6%; Wales grew by 4.4%.

At a regional level, London had the highest GDHI per head where, on average, each person had £29,362 available to spend or save; the North East had the lowest at £16,995 which compares with a UK average of £21,109. Y&H was £17,665.

At a local level, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham district had the highest GDHI per head at £63,286 with Nottingham the lowest at £13,138. All the top 10 local areas were in London or the South East with the bottom 10 within the North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, and Northern Ireland regions.

The wealthiest part of Y&H was North Yorkshire with incomes of £22,354. This ranked the area 44th out of 179 districts of the UK.

The poorest areas of the region were Hull at £14,032, beating Bradford at £15,319. Hull was ranked 176th in the UK, Nottingham and Leicester were bottom.

In terms of regional growth, the largest increase was in London at 5.2% with the smallest in the East Midlands at 3.6%. Y&H growth was 4.5%.

At the local level, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham was best again in the UK with growth of 7.6% whereas Luton was the worst and only grew by 0.9%.

In Y&H, income growth in the East Riding of Yorkshire was top at 5.9% with North Yorkshire second at 5.8%. Hull was again the worst regional performer with growth of 2.7%, a ranking of 164th.

Labour

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region was 17,000 lower at 106,000 between February and April; the big drop of 0.7% took the rate to 3.9%. Despite narrowing the gap with the West Midlands (4.8%), at 5.2% the North East was still the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.3%, with the UK rate at 3.9%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 79.5% which compared with 74.0% in Y&H where 2.6m are employed; the UK rate was 76.4%.

Public sector employment in Y&H increased by 1.5% in March to 469.000, which was 18.1% of the workforce. At 25.2% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 13.9% in London which was the lowest.

In March, average earnings in Y&H increased by £29 to £606 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £847 and the lowest average earnings of £537 were recorded in Northern Ireland.

Earnings in the NE increased the most in the UK by £60 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £37 in Scotland.

In the UK overall, average earnings grew by 1.7% or by 0.4% after inflation. If bonuses are included real pay fell by 0.4%.

The public sector saw the highest estimated growth, at 3.2% for regular pay, while negative growth was seen in the construction sector, estimated at negative 1.8%. Both the wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants sector and the manufacturing sector saw very weak growth at 0.1% for regular pay.

Housing

Estimates of private sector rents for the year to March 2020 were published by the ONS this month.

The median monthly rent was an all time high of £700 in England between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020. London had the highest median monthly rent at £1,425 with the North East the lowest at £495. Within local authorities the difference in monthly rental price between the most and least expensive was nearly £2,100.

In Y&H rental prices ranged from £450 to £995 with £550 the median.

Data for the 12 months to May 2020 showed private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK rose by 1.5%, unchanged from the previous month. Rental prices grew by 1.5% in England, 1.2% in Wales and 0.6% in Scotland.

Rental prices increased the most in the South West, up by 2.5%, with the lowest price growth in the North East at 0.8%, Y&H recorded 2.2%.

According to the ONS the South West is also projected to have the highest regional rate of growth in households over the next ten years, at 9%. This compares with 5.4% in Y&H and 4.3% in the NE (the lowest).

Overall the number of households in England is projected to increase by 1.6m (7.1%) from 23.2m in 2018 to 24.8m in 2028. Y&H is forecast to have 2.4m households by 2028.

Given the closure of the housing market following lockdown the ONS has suspended its property price index until further notice.

Following lockdown the Yorkshire & Humberside economy shrinks more slowly than most other regions at -1.3%, pre-pandemic data shows the second fastest growth in the UK

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A quarterly nowcast for Y&H for the 3 months ended March 2020 which captures the start of lockdown, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the Y&H economy contracted by 1.3%. ESCoE is a partnership of research institutions and the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’).

This ranked Y&H second and suggests the regional economy has coped better with the pandemic relative to the other eleven ‘regions’ of the UK. Over the same period the 1% fall in the East Midlands was ‘best’ with Northern Ireland’s 3.9% contraction the ‘worst’; the UK decline was 2%.

For the 12 months ended March 2020 on a rolling 4 quarter basis, ESCoE has estimated that Y&H growth has dropped from 1.1% to 0.3%.

This ranked the Y&H seventh (previous ranking sixth) and suggests the region has marginally worsened its position relative to the other eleven parts of the UK. Over the same period UK growth was 0.5%; growth in London (ranked first) was 1.8%; and growth in the East Midlands (ranked twelfth) was -0.6%.

ONS GDP to September 2019

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflect Brexit uncertainty rather than Covid 19 turmoil are, relatively, also good for the region. Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September 2019, the ONS has now published its fourth estimate for Y&H, the other eight English regions, and Wales.  GDP figures have been available for the UK since the 1940s, for Scotland since 2002 and Northern Ireland since 2013.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended September 2019 with the same quarter a year earlier. These figures showed Y&H grew by 2%, up from 0.2% the previous quarter. This placed the Y&H second (previous ranking eighth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London topped the table with growth of 5% whilst UK growth over the same period was 1.2%. The West Midlands was the worst performer and contracted by 1.5%, one of three ‘regions’ in the UK to suffer a decline.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures also highlighted that the standalone quarter to September 2019 was also good for the Y&H and an improvement on the previous quarter. The Y&H economy grew by 1% in July to September 2019, following growth of 0.5% in April to June 2019.

This placed Y&H third (previous ranking third) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. Four regions of the UK saw their economies contract but overall the UK grew by 0.5%.

Again London was top with quarterly growth of 1.4% whilst the East Midlands was the worst performer and contracted by 0.3%.

In this period, Y&H’s best sector was mining with growth of 14.3% but construction fell by 5%. Overall services grew by 1.9% but production fell by 0.5%, construction by 5% and agriculture by 0.8%.

Labour

More largely pre-pandemic data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region was 4,000 lower at 116,000 between January and March; the drop of 0.2% took the rate to 4.3%. At 5.4% the North East was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.4%, with the UK rate at 3.9%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 80.2% which compared with 73.9% in Y&H where 2.6m are employed; the UK rate was 76.6%.

Housing

Y&H’s average property price decreased over the month by 3.6% to £159,208. The drop took the annual decrease to 1%, the only part of the UK to record an annual fall. In comparison, UK prices dropped by 0.2% to £231,855 during March, an annual growth rate of 2.1%.

The ONS data is based on completed housing transactions. Typically, a house purchase can take 6 to 8 weeks to reach completion so the price data feeding into the March figures will therefore reflect those completions that occurred before lockdown.

Given the closure of the housing market following lockdown the ONS has suspended its index until further notice.

Leeds imports nine times more services than York, Y&H’s exports decrease the most in the UK and the region’s unemployment rate ticks up

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HMRC has published the latest regional trade figures which show exports and imports for 2019. Given the time period this data reflects Brexit uncertainty rather than Covid 19 turmoil. 

In the year to December 2019, the overall value of UK trade in goods exports increased by 2.1% to £346bn compared with the same period in 2018. The overall value of imports increased by 0.3% to £483bn.

There was a decrease in annual export value in Y&H along with five of the 12 UK ‘regions’. Y&H’s exports decreased by 6.3% or £1.1bn to £17bn which was 8% of the UK total. The fall meant that Wales moved past Y&H to ninth in the UK rankings.

The biggest regional exporter was the SE of England at £46.5bn and Northern Ireland was the smallest at £9bn. The best performer in percentage terms was London which added 17%, Y&H was the worst.

There was a decrease in annual import value in Y&H along with three of the 12 UK ‘regions’. Y&H’s imports decreased by 4.8% or 1.6bn to £32bn which was 7% of the UK total.

The leading regional importer was the SE at £98bn and Northern Ireland was the smallest at £8bn. In percentage terms London added 12% compared with Scotland which reduced imports by 7%.

The Netherlands was Y&H’s largest export market with machinery & transport equipment the best export. Most of Y&H’s imported goods also came from the Netherlands with minerals & fuels the biggest import.

Services

This month the ONS published data on regional services imports for 2017. The largest component of services imported into the UK was £51bn of travel. This was 28% of the £181bn UK total imports of services.

Y&H imported £10bn of services value in 2017 of which £4bn was travel. The biggest importer of services was London at £60bn with Northern Ireland importing £1.6bn.

At a local level, the biggest importer of non-travel services into the UK was Camden and City of London at £14.5bn, almost double the next largest importer which was Westminster at £7.9bn. Of the 167 local areas, The Western Isles of Scotland imported the least amount, £21m, with Anglesey next at £31m.

In Y&H, Leeds imported £1.8bn of non-travel services compared with £201m in York.

The data on services exports was released by the ONS last year which showed Y&H exporting £9.6bn of services which compared with London at £117bn and Northern Ireland at £2.9bn.

Other data

The ONS has also published the latest regional construction sector data to December 2019 which again reflects Brexit uncertainty rather than Covid 19 turmoil. Compared with the previous quarter all parts of the UK recorded a decline with Y&H posting a 2.5% drop to £3.2bn. 

The biggest decrease in the UK was 4.6% in the West Midlands; the SE was best with a 0.9% fall. Within this though 3820 new houses were completed in Y&H, the increase of 4% on the previous quarter was the smallest in the UK.

More pre-pandemic data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region was 11,000 higher at 128,000 between December and February; the uplift of 0.4% took the rate to 4.7%. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.5%, the NE the highest at 5.6% with the UK rate at 4%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 80.1% which compared with 73.5% in Y&H where 3.5m are employed; the UK rate was 76.6%.

Y&H’s average property price decreased over the month by 1% to £162,334. The drop took the annual increase to 1.9%. In comparison, UK prices dropped by 0.6% to £230,332 during February, an annual growth rate of 1.1%.

Fulwood the wealthiest part of the region with part of Bradford the poorest, all of the region’s LEPs record below average productivity growth

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The ONS has published average household disposal income estimates for England and Wales in 2018. The incomes stated are after tax and housing costs are taken off. 

The analysis shows 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 geographically 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 area of Y&H was the Fulwood area of Sheffield at £44,600. This ranked the area 37th out of the 7,201 areas recorded. The poorest area of the region was the university area of Bradford with £13,700. This area was ranked 7,197 out of the 7,201 areas of the UK recorded.

Like most regions of the UK, output per hour in Y&H is below the UK average. Productivity per hour in Y&H was 16.5% below the UK average which ranked the region eleventh nationally for 2018.

One reason for this is the high levels of hours worked and high productivity in London and 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 Y&H’s performance.

Perhaps the most useful indicator is the 2018 results for the 44 enterprise regions in the UK which comprises 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 and jobs) in 2018 at 35% above the UK average whereas the Black Country LEP at 24% below was the worst.

All of the region’s LEPs recorded productivity below the UK average. 

Leeds City region was 30th at 14% below. Humber LEP 32nd and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding 33rd at 15%. But the worst regional performers were Greater Lincolnshire and Sheffield City Region at 18% below the average which ranked them 36th and 37th.

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%.

Y&H’s results for productivity growth were more mixed. With growth of 2.7%, Greater Lincolnshire was the regional star and was ranked 18th nationally, beating Sheffield City Region which was ranked 21st with 2.4% growth.

York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP grew by 1.8% and was ranked 23rd with Leeds City region posting 0.1% growth which placed it 31st.  The region’s other LEP recorded productivity levels lower in 2018 than 2010. Humber was -6.1% and was ranked 41st.

On subregions, with the exception of York (+0.2%) all of Y&H’s economic regions recorded productivity below the UK average. Bradford had the lowest productivity, 26% below the UK average.

The growth in hours worked between 2010 and 2018 in West Yorkshire was 13%, just beating South Yorkshire which recorded 12%. In UK terms this level of growth was in the top fifteen of the country’s 41 subregions. North Yorkshire grew by 11% and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire was ranked 22nd with 10%.

If the increase in economic output is also factored in, then the sub regional performances are not as good.

North Yorkshire was ranked 19th in the UK with growth of c3%, West Yorkshire was placed 33rd with 0.1%, South Yorkshire 35th with -0.2% and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire at 39th with -6%. 

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region was 13,000 higher at 123,000 between November and January; the uplift of 0.5% took the rate to 4.6%, the second highest in the UK. 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 73% in Y&H where 2.6m are employed; the UK rate was 76.5%.

Y&H’s average property price decreased by 0.9% to £165,383, which took the annual increase to 3.1%, the highest in the UK. In comparison, UK prices decreased by 1.1% to £231,185 during January, an annual growth rate of 1.3%

Y&H’s economy grows the second fastest in Q2 2019 but in 2018 the region’s productivity contracted the most in the UK, growth in the region’s house prices a UK outlier

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For the 12 months ended December 2019, a nowcast published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’) on a rolling 4 quarter basis, has estimated that Y&H growth has dropped slightly from 1.3% to 1.1%. ESCoE is a partnership of research institutions and the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’).

This ranked Y&H sixth (previous ranking seventh) and suggests the region has marginally improved its position relative to the other eleven parts of the UK. Over the same period UK growth was 1.4%; growth in London (ranked first) was 3.3%; and growth in the East Midlands (ranked twelfth) was 0.1%.

The latest official ONS figures for an earlier period are even better. Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September 2019, the ONS has now published its third estimate for Y&H, the other eight English regions, and Wales.  GDP figures have been available for the UK since the 1940s, for Scotland since 2002 and Northern Ireland since 2013.

These stats are for the period six months before the ESCoE estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended June 2019 with the same quarter a year earlier. These more volatile figures showed Y&H grew by 0.6%, up from -0.3% the previous quarter. This placed Y&H sixth (previous ranking twelfth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions.’

London topped the table with growth of 4.5% whilst UK growth over the same period was 1.4%. The NW was the worst performer and contracted by 0.7%, one of three ‘regions’ in the UK to suffer a decline.

In the same report, there was no surprise that the ONS’s figures also highlighted that the standalone quarter to June 2019 was also better for the region than the previous quarter. The Y&H economy grew by 0.7% in April to June 2019, following no growth in January to March 2019.

This placed Y&H second (previous ranking eleventh) out of the twelve UK ‘regions. Six regions of the UK saw their economies contract as did the UK overall by 0.2%.

In this period, the regional administrative/support services and finance industries grew by 22.7% and 6.4% respectively but Y&H’s construction and education industries fell by 4.4% and 4.3%.

Overall the regional construction, agriculture and production sectors fell by 4.4%, 1.5% and 0.9% respectively while services grew by 1.5% and made the largest positive contribution to Y&H’s growth of 1.14%. Services output has remained moderately flat from its 2016 level until this quarter’s uplift, on the other hand the construction sector has show steady growth from the beginning of 2018 until this quarter’s drop.

Productivity

Like most regions of the UK, output per hour in Y&H was below the UK average in 2018 according to the ONS. Productivity in Y&H was 16.5% under the average which ranked the region eleventh in the UK.

Two regions had productivity above the UK average, London +31.6% and the South East +9.1%. These regions record high levels of hours worked and their high productivity pulls up the UK average so much that all other regions fall below it. Wales was furthest off the average at -17.2%.

Y&H was also ranked eleventh in terms of output per job. The region’s 16.8% below the UK average compared with London at 40.5% above.

In terms of growth in output per hour, six regions of the UK expanded. Y&H was ranked last as output per hour contracted by 2.5%. At 2.3% growth was fastest in Scotland. UK growth was 0.5%.

In terms of sectors, Y&H’s productivity in accommodation/service activities was better than expected but finance and insurance was 25% less productive in the region than was anticipated.

On average, in 2018 the UK economy produced about £35 of value for each hour worked, with finance and insurance top at c£69 per hour compared with accommodation/service activities productivity at c£17 per hour.

Labour

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region increased by 16,000 to 120,000 between October and December; the uplift of 0.6% took the rate to 4.5%, the second highest in the UK. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.4%, with the UK rate at 3.8%. The highest rate was 6.1% which was recorded in the North East.

The South West had the highest employment rate at 80.1% which compared with 73.3% in Y&H, where 2.6m are employed; the UK rate was 76.5%.

In December, average earnings in Y&H increased by £27 to £577 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £805 and the lowest average earnings of £530 were recorded in the NE. The Y&H was ranked ninth (previous ranking tenth).

In the UK overall, average earnings grew by 2.9% or by 1.4% after inflation. After adjusting for inflation, regular pay is now at its highest level since 2000, whereas total pay (which includes bonuses) is still 3.7% below its peak in February 2008.

Housing

Y&H’s average property price increased by 1.7% over the month to £168,382, the uplift took the annual increase to 3.9%, the highest in the UK. In comparison, UK prices increased by 0.3% to £234,742 during September, an annual growth rate of 2.2%.

The South Yorkshire devolution deal agreed, Northern Rail nationalised and Sirius Minerals salvaged

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In the ONS’s estimate of regional public spending and regional tax revenues in 2019, Y&H had a deficit of £11.3bn, a lower shortfall than the £11.9bn recorded in 2018. This compared with London, which had the highest surplus of £38.9bn.

On a per person basis, the Y&H’s deficit was £2,063, lower than the £2,188 recorded in 2018. London had the highest surplus of £4,369 per person whereas Northern Ireland had the biggest shortfall at £4,978.

The only areas of the UK to run surpluses were London, the SE of England and the East of England. The West Midlands and the North East were the two regions in the UK to increase their net fiscal deficits over the year; the other seven regions reduced their shortfalls.

At a national level, the UK had a deficit of £623 per person which splits into deficits of £68, £2,713, £4,289 and £4,978 for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.

Public spending in Y&H was £67.2bn or £12,278 per head, an increase on the 2018 figure of £65.9bn. London had the biggest spend of £123.9bn or £13,826 per head whereas Northern Ireland had the lowest at £27.9bn or £14,821 per head. Total government spending was £853bn or £12,835 per head.

Y&H collected £55.18bn in taxes in 2019. London contributed the most to the Exchequer at £161.9bn, compared with the lowest contribution of £18.5bn which was from Northern Ireland. Overall the state raised £811.3bn or £12,213 per head in taxes an uplift of £34.1bn or £461 per head compared with 2018.

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in Y&H increased by 9,000 to 117,000 between September and November 2019; the increase of 0.3% took the overall rate to 4.3%, the joint second highest in the UK. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate at 2.3% with the UK rate at 3.8%.

The South West had the highest employment rate at 79.8% which compared with 73.4% in Y&H. UK employment was estimated at 76.3%.

Y&H average property prices fell the most in the UK during November 2019, the 1.0% drop to £165,642 reduced annual growth to 2.6%. In comparison, UK prices increased by 0.4% to £235,298 an annual growth rate of 2.2%.

Four years after it was proposed, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield councils along with Sheffield City Region, have agreed to move forward with a South Yorkshire devolution deal. The Sheffield City Region mayor’s remit will cover transport, strategic planning and skills, plus £900m over 30 years. Barnsley and Doncaster had favoured an all Yorkshire deal but this was vetoed by the government.

Anglo American has agreed to buy North Yorkshire based Sirius Minerals, owner of potentially the world’s largest mine for polyhalite, a naturally occurring fertiliser which is used in agriculture. The c£405m deal could safeguard thousands of jobs after the future of the mine was threatened after Sirius abandoned a $500m fundraising.

On transport, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is investigating Network Rail over its poor service on routes used by commuter favourites Northern and TransPennine Express. Network Rail owns and operates rail infrastructure in England, Wales and Scotland.

The ORR said the proportion of scheduled train stops made on time in the last 12 months up to 4 January by Northern was 55% and 41% by TransPennine Express. This compares to the national average of 65%.

Early in January, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced he was evaluating a proposal from Northern Rail for options for continuing its franchise after the minister said the firm had the finances to continue only for a number of months. Then he surprisingly followed through and nationalised the firm, which consequently threw the Transpennine franchise into sharper focus.

On HS2, the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd did not allow for all uncertainties when estimating initial costs the National Audit Office (NAO) has said. In 2015, HS2 was due to cost £56bn but a leaked government report suggested the total could reach £106bn. At this cost the decision whether to proceed or not will be taken at Prime Ministerial level next month.

Administrators Deloitte have said 61 jobs will be lost in Scunthorpe, after they could not find a buyer for iron and steel castings producer the Bondshold Group. The firm was established in County Durham in 1868 and only two years ago was one of the UK’s fastest-growing for international sales.

The YH economy grew by 1.2% in 2018, the Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham economy the fastest growing in the region but North East Lincolnshire declines, the growth in YH house prices a UK outlier

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Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September, the ONS has now published its 2018 full year estimate of economic activity by UK country, region and local area using gross domestic product.

The figures showed the YH economy grew by 1.2% in 2018, down from the 2017 growth rate of 2.2%. This placed YH sixth (2017 ranking fifth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions.’

The UK and England growth rate in 2018 was 1.4%. Growth in Wales was 1.3%, Scotland grew by 0.9% and the Northern Ireland economy shrank by 0.5%.

London topped the 2018 table with growth of 2.0% whilst Northern Ireland was at the bottom.

Within the region, the Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham economy grew the fastest at 4.6%, followed by Leeds at 4.5% and York at 3.9%. Across the UK, the highest annual growth of sub national areas was in Falkirk at 10.5%.

Five areas of the region saw their GDP decline in 2018. The worst performer was North and North East Lincolnshire at -3.2% followed by Bradford at -2.2% and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire at -0.6%. In UK terms, the lowest annual growth of sub national areas was in Mid and East Antrim at -10.1%.

GDP per head growth of 3.9% to £36,500 was seen in Leeds. GDP per head fell by 3.5% in North and North East Lincolnshire to £30,320 but despite growing by 4.0%, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham posted the lowest GDP per head in the region at £20,326.

In terms of UK extremes, GDP per head was £395,309 in Camden and the City of London and £15,034 in Ards and North Down. These figures are a guide and are influenced by commuter flows.

In 2018, key drivers of the YH economy were information/communication and arts/entertainment both at 6% and water supply and services at 4%. Those areas that did not perform well were agriculture down by 6%, public administration/defence fell by 4% and construction also declined by 1%. Overall the services sector grew by 1.7% and production by 0.3%.

The 2018 performance of the region’s enterprise partnerships was also highlighted by the ONS. Of the UK’s 45 development bodies, Sheffield City Region was ranked 4th in the UK (2017 ranking 18th) with growth of 2.3%, with Leeds City Region moving up the rankings most from 22nd to 5th with growth of 2.2%. The region’s three other LEPs all slipped down the rankings. York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP slipped from 5th in 2017 to 19th in 2018, Greater Lincolnshire fell from 15th to 37th, but the worst performer was the Humber which dropped from 12th to 38th as the economy declined by 0.4% compared with growth of 3.2% in 2017.

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in YH fell by 6,000 to 110,000 between August and October 2019; the decrease of 0.2% took the overall rate to 4.1%. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate at 2.3% with the UK rate at 3.8%. The highest rate was 6.1% which was recorded in the North East.

The South West had the highest employment rate at 80.8% which compared with 73.8% in YH. UK employment was estimated at 76.2%.

The only part of England where average property prices grew was in YH, by 0.9% during October 2019 to £166,904, which took annual growth to an England best of 3.2%. In comparison, UK prices fell by 0.7% to £232,944, an annual growth rate of 0.7%.

ONS figures show the region’s economy the only part of the UK to contract, a whopping fall in Y&H unemployment, and Bradford the most improved place in the UK

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Chinese firm Jingye will invest £1.2bn in British Steel after it provisionally agreed to rescue the steelmaker. British Steel employs about 4,000 people in Scunthorpe and Teesside. The new owners did not put a number on how many jobs would be saved.

In North Yorkshire, Sirius Minerals has published a revised two-phase plan for the development of its fertiliser mine. The future of the mine was questioned after the firm cancelled plans to raise £403m through a bond sale.

The company will now seek to raise an initial £470m to fund the construction of mineshafts and the first section of a tunnel near Whitby. There will be separate funding for the rest of the tunnel and processing and shipping facilities at Teesside. This phase will be deferred for between 12 and 24 months.

The site would be the world’s largest mine for polyhalite, a naturally occurring fertiliser which is used in agriculture; more than 1,000 jobs would be created.

Also in Yorkshire, plans for a £200m business centre, power station, education campus and research centre in the east of the county have been approved. The Yorkshire Energy Park will be built on a former aerodrome at Hedon near Hull after councillors narrowly approved the project.

The aerodrome, owned by Hull City Council, will feature an energy generation plant providing power for the site and the National Grid. Several global companies have backed the project including EON, IBM, Vodafone and Chinese telecom giant ZTE. Final approval by the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government is still required.

The city of Bradford is the most improved place in the UK to live and work, according to a study by accountants PWC and think-tank Demos. The criteria used include jobs, health, income and skills, as well as work-life balance, house affordability, travel-to-work times, income equality, environment and business start-ups.

The best cities and towns to live in were named as Oxford and Reading, which retained first and second places for the fourth year in a row

As part of the government’s drive to make the North of England the world-leader in the creation of modern, green homes, Yorkshire, as part of the ‘Construction Corridor’, is receiving £30m.

Homes England will provide the funding directly to ilke Homes to increase production at the firm’s factory in Knaresborough. The terms of the funding are not known.

The Stats

Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September, the ONS has now published its next estimates for Yorkshire and The Humber, the other eight English regions, and Wales, for the year to March 2019. GDP figures have been available for the UK since the 1940s, for Scotland since 2002 and Northern Ireland since 2013.

The latest available figures were not good, and showed the Y&H economy was the only part of the UK to contract, by 0.3%, down from 0.6% growth the previous quarter. This placed Y&H last (previous ranking ninth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions.’

London topped the table with growth of 4.2%. Propelled by a drive to meet the original March 31st Brexit date, UK growth over the same period was 2.2%.

The ONS figures also showed that the region’s economy was one of three in the UK to contract in the quarter to March 2019, the others were Wales and the East Midlands. The Y&H economy declined by 0.3% in January to March 2019, following growth of 0.5% in October to December 2018.

Despite the poor overall picture, the finance and construction industries grew by 3.5% and 2.4% but education and the energy industry fell by 2.7% and 7.9%. In terms of sectors, production and services both made negative contributions with construction the only bright spot.

Estimates published by ESCoE last month for the year ended September 2019, a more recent period than the ONS figures, ranked Y&H seventh (previous ranking second) with growth of 1.3%, which suggests the region has outperformed other parts of the UK since the winter.

Using this metric, UK growth was 1.45%. Growth in London (ranked first) was 2.32%, which compared with the South West of England (bottom) at 0.41%

More positively, data from the ONS showed unemployment in Y&H decreased by a whopping 32,000 to 105,000 between July and September; the decrease of 1.1% was by some way the best performance in the UK and took the overall rate to 3.9%. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate at 2.5% with the UK rate at 3.8%. The highest rate was 5.9% which was recorded in the North East.

The South West had the highest employment rate at 81.0% which compared with 73.7% in the region. UK employment was estimated at 76.0%.

In September, average earnings in Y&H were down by £24 to £550 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £830. The lowest average earnings of £527 were recorded in Wales. In the UK overall, average earnings grew by 3.6% or by 1.8% after inflation.

Y&H average property prices fell by 0.1% over the month to £166,745, which took annual growth to 2.2% which was the second highest in England. In comparison, UK prices fell by 0.2% to £234,370 during September, an annual growth rate of 1.3%.

Y&H’s film and TV industries aiming for critical mass, regional unemployment drops significantly and railway woes

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Unemployment in Y&H decreased by 28,000 to 108,000 between June and August, the fall of 1% was the best in the UK which left the overall rate at 4.0%.

The South West continued to record the lowest rate at 2.4% with the UK rate at 3.9%. The highest rate was 5.8% which was recorded in the North East.

The South West also had the highest employment rate at 81.0% which compared with 74.0% in Y&H. UK employment was estimated at 75.9%.

Y&H average property prices increased by 0.2% to £165,767, which took annual growth to 1.0%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 0.8% to £234,853 during August, an annual growth rate of 1.3%.

Analysis by the BBC has found workers living in seaside areas in Great Britain earn on average £1,600 less per year than those living inland. Of the 650 constituencies in the UK, wages in Beverley and Holderness fell the eighth fastest.

Overall, in coastal constituencies median wages were £22,104 compared with £23,785 in non-coastal areas.

The ONS’s Personal Well-being (or Happiness) Index has ranked Y&H eighth out of the 12 UK ‘regions’ in terms of an improvement in life satisfaction since the last survey. The Northern Irish were the happiest folk in the UK with Londoners the most miserable.

Development

Channel 4 will have c250 of its 850-strong workforce in Leeds by next year after the broadcaster officially opened a new base in the city. The firm will broadcast a new daily lunchtime show live from Leeds, and C4 News will regularly be co-presented from the city.

Channel 4 chose Leeds over Birmingham and Manchester despite the pull of Salford’s MediaCityUK. The channel’s heads of drama and sport, plus other commissioning editors, are now in the city.

The broadcaster plans to spend £250m a year outside London increasing the proportion of programmes it makes outside the capital from 35% to 50%.

Given the above, there is a sense that Y&H’s film and TV industries can achieve critical mass. ITV has more than 650 staff in Leeds, a number of independent production companies have followed C4 and opened offices in the city plus the National Film and Television School is opening a branch in January.

Screen Yorkshire has also picked winners like Peaky Blinders, but although this is largely shot in Yorkshire, Birmingham has pinched some screen tourism linked to the show.

The gold standard in screen tourism has been set by Game of Thrones, which has brought £251m into the Northern Ireland economy since production began in 2010. Figures from Tourism NI suggest that 350,000 fans visit Northern Ireland every year and spend at least £50m. Screen Yorkshire needs to tick this last box.

The region will also benefit from the extra £90m the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has added to the Cultural Development Fund, which is for arts, culture, heritage and the creative industries in towns and cities outside London.

Grimsby deal well out of the Cultural Development Fund last year, now £18.5m has been allocated to York’s National Railway Museum.

Also on culture, The National Lottery Heritage fund has confirmed £13.6m towards the £27.4m project to move Hull’s last sidewinder trawler to a dry dock as part of a new visitor attraction.

Hull City Council is match funding £10m with a further £4.3m for the redevelopment of Queens Gardens. The Queens Garden’s site was once the world’s largest dock and will now be used to connect the three sites involved in the maritime history project.

Hull has also become the first city in the UK which has full fibre broadband. The seven-year £85m investment programme was carried out by local firm Kcom. The firm claims that £469m of incremental economic activity has occurred as a result.

Jobs

The government will open talks with other bidders for British Steel after failing to agree terms with Ataer Holding during the exclusivity period which started in August. There are 3,000 direct jobs in Scunthorpe with an estimated 20,000 indirect jobs linked to the site. The Financial Times reported that Network Rail, which buys c100,000 tonnes of track from British Steel, is considering cutting back its orders amid doubts over the firm’s future.

The Pennine Foods factory in Sheffield which makes ready meals has began consulting on closure. About 600 jobs are at risk at the facility which is part of the 2 Sisters Food Group and is described by the firm as loss making.

Doncaster Council has agreed a draft budget which details plans to find £16.8m in savings in the next four years. Consequently 80 council jobs would be cut along with 15 in children’s services.

Lincoln based building firm, Simons Group, which specialised in retail, healthcare, and commercial projects across the UK,  has gone into administration. Administrators said up to 124 job losses are expected

Transport

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s Independent review ‘HS2 North’ was introduced in Parliament this month by the Northern Powerhouse All Party Parliamentary Group.

The key recommendation of the report is the establishment of HS2 North, a private sector special purpose vehicle modelled on the Olympic Delivery Authority which would integrate HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

HS2 North would be arms-length from government, contracting with private sector delivery partners and Network Rail, and overseen by Transport for the North.

Whilst no one doubts that HS2 will bring significant benefits to the Northern economy, this report, and a second Northern Powerhouse Partnership report, ‘HS2 and the Economy of the North’, identifies that further detailed work needs to be undertaken to pin down the economic benefits that the new line would bring.

Separately, CBI East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, London, the North East and North West regional directors also urged the government to build the HS2 rail project in full.

However, a paper by the Adam Smith Institute, also released this month, claims that HS2 will deliver limited benefits and that some Northern cities could lose direct trains to London.

It recommends instead, upgrading existing routes with new signalling, doubling the number of tracks, reopening mothballed lines, building new sections of railway and targeting bottlenecks at key junctions.

Also on the trains, the government is considering whether the management of Northern Rail should be taken into public hands. The Department for Transport confirmed it was developing contingency plans with either a new short-term management contract with Northern or the Operator of Last Resort (‘OLR’) (effectively the Government).

The OLR is currently in charge of London North East Railway, the East Coast Mainline intercity franchise. Northern is a large, more complex commuter network, so the government is likely to take-on a more supervisory role, with Northern still able to run day-to-day services and take the blame.

In a bad month for Northern, politicians demanded that passengers still having to use the 1980s-built rail-buses called Pacer trains should be offered reduced fares. Northern had planned to withdraw them all by the end of this year but some will be retained into 2020 as a result of delays in the construction and delivery of new trains from manufacturer CAF.

The Pacers, a joint venture between British Rail and British Leyland, were originally constructed from the body of a bus and were intended to have a maximum lifespan of 20 years. In fairness though the Pacer is a survivor, other British Leyland vehicles from the 1980s like the Austin Maxi and Morris Marina have long gone.

An upgrade to the line between Sheffield and Manchester announced in 2018 and designed to improve journey times by ten minutes has been delayed. The Hope Valley line will now not be upgraded until 2023, allowing journey times to be cut from 50 to 40 minutes.