The State of Britain

Cleadon the wealthiest part of the region with Grangetown and Berwick Hills/Gresham the poorest, both 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 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 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 the North East was the Cleadon area of South Tyneside with £37,900. This ranked the area 333rd out of the 7,201 areas of the UK recorded. The poorest areas of the region were Grangetown (Redcar) and the Berwick Hills/Gresham areas of Middlesborough both with £15,800. These areas were ranked 7,141 out of the 7,201 areas of the UK recorded.

Like most regions of the UK, output per hour in the NE is below the UK average. Productivity per hour in the NE was 13.5% below the UK average which ranked the region eighth 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 the NE’s performance.

Perhaps the most useful data is 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 and jobs) in 2018 at 35% above the UK average whereas the Black Country LEP at 24% below was the worst.

At 9% below the UK average Tees Valley LEP was ranked 20th, better than the North East LEP which was ranked 31st at 14% below.

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%.

Tees Valley LEP was ranked 24th with growth of 1.7%, again better than the North East LEP which was ranked 35th with productivity dropping by 0.4% over the eight years.

With the exception of Sunderland (+8%) all of the NE’s economic regions recorded productivity below the UK average. Northumberland had the lowest productivity, 23% below the UK average.

The growth in hours worked between 2010 and 2018 in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear was 5.5%, better than in Tees Valley and Durham which recorded 2.1%. In UK terms this level of growth was in the bottom five of the country’s 41 subregions.

If the increase in economic output is factored in then the sub regional performances are similar. Northumberland and Tyne and Wear was ranked 25th in the UK with growth of c2% and Tees Valley and Durham was ranked 37th with -2%.

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region was 1,000 higher at 80,000 between November and January; the uplift of 0.1% took the rate to 6.2%, a UK outlier, at 4.6% Yorkshire & The Humber was next 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% which compared with 71.7% in the NE where 1.2m are employed; the UK rate was 76.5%.

The NE’s average property price decreased the most in England over the month, by 2.6% to £126,592. The drop took the annual increase to 0.9%. In comparison, UK prices decreased by 1.1% to £231,185 during January, an annual growth rate of 1.3%.