The State of Britain

Significant regional job losses at Rolls Royce, EM’s income growth the UK’s slowest with Nottingham and Leicester average incomes at just over £13,000

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Rolls Royce has confirmed the locations of the job losses it is to make this year. Last month the Derby-based firm said 9,000 jobs were to be cut, mostly in its Civil Aerospace division as a result of air travel being hit by the pandemic. Around 1,500 roles will be lost in Derby and the East Midlands with voluntary redundancies also available to all employees.

Wicksteed Park in Kettering has gone into administration. A new company will be formed with the aim of raising funds to re-open the 99-year-old theme park but until then 48 permanent staff and 67 part-time and other jobs have been lost.

Two other regional attractions have secured National Lottery grants to cover losses incurred by the lockdown. Creswell Crags, a series of caves used during prehistoric times and Cromford Mills have been awarded £250,000 from the Heritage Emergency Fund.

Intu – the owner of some of Britain’s most high-profile shopping malls – has called in administrators. The firm ran the half-demolished Broadmarsh Centre in Nottingham which has received £17m of public money. In 2018 the city council committed to spending c£50m on the project.

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. The EM beat the WM by £5 at £18,277.

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 the EM was West Northamptonshire with incomes of £21,774. This ranked the area 50th out of 179 districts of the UK. The poorest areas of the region and the UK were Nottingham at £13,138, beating Leicester at £13,269.

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

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

In the EM, income growth in North Nottinghamshire was top at 5.0% with East Derbyshire second at 4.4%. Leicester was the worst regional performer with growth of 1.1%, a ranking of 178th and beating only Luton.


More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region was 6,000 lower at 91,000 between February and April; the drop of 0.3% took the rate to 3.7%. 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 78.1% in the EM where 2.4m are employed; the UK rate was 76.4%.

Public sector employment in the EM increased by 2.1% in March to 355.000, which was 15.6% 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 the EM increased by £11 to £591 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 the EM rental prices ranged from £495 to £725 with £600 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%, the EM recorded 2.5%.

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 8.7% in the EM 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. The EM is forecast to have 2.2m households by 2028.

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