The State of Britain

London tops the 2018 growth league, Hounslow and Richmond sees the highest regional growth, Lambeth declines and house prices continue to fall the most in the UK

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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 London economy grew by 2.0% in 2018, up from the 2017 growth rate of 1.6%. This placed the capital first (2017 ranking seventh) 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%.

Within the city, the Hounslow and Richmond economy grew the fastest at 6.1%, followed by Bromley at 4.7% and Kensington, Chelsea, Fulham and Hammersmith at 4.2%. Across the UK, the highest annual growth of the 179 local areas was in Falkirk at 10.5%.

Six areas of the capital saw their GDP decline in 2018. Lambeth recorded the biggest drop at 5.8%, followed by Harrow and Hillingdon at 1.7% and Bexley and Greenwich at 1.5%. 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 5.4% to £61,899 was seen in Hounslow and Richmond although at £395,309 Camden and the City of London was top in the capital. GDP per head fell by 6.3% in Lambeth to £40,870.

In terms of UK extremes, GDP per head in Camden and the City of London was top and six areas of London were in the UK top 10. The lowest in the UK was £15,034 in Ards and North Down. These figures are a guide and are influenced by commuter flows.

In 2018, key drivers of the London economy were mining and quarrying 6.2%, professional/scientific/technical activities at 6.1% and wholesale/retail up by 4.1%. Those areas that did not perform well were water supply services down by 9%, transportation and storage 3% and arts/entertainment declined by 1%. Overall the services sector grew by 2.4% whilst construction fell by 0.6% and production by 3.9%.

The 2018 performance of the capital’s enterprise partnership was also highlighted by the ONS. Of the UK’s 45 development bodies, the London Enterprise Panel was eleventh in the UK (2017 ranking 26th) with growth of 2.0%.

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in London dropped by 4,000 to 221,000 between August and October 2019; the drop of 0.1% took the overall rate to 4.5%, the second highest rate in the UK.  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 74.8% in London. The UK rate was 76.2%.

The capital’s average property price fell by 1.7% during October 2019 to £472,232, which took the annual fall to 1.6%, the biggest drop in the UK. In comparison, UK prices fell by 0.7% to £232,944, an annual growth rate of 0.7%.