The State of Britain

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.


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.


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.