The State of Britain

The Bernards Heath area of St Albans and Central Great Yarmouth are the wealthiest and poorest areas of the region, all 5 LEPs record productivity below the UK average

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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 EE was the Bernards Heath area of St Albans with £45,200. This ranked the area 29th out of the 7,201 areas recorded. The poorest area of the region was Central Great Yarmouth with £17,000. This area was ranked 7,062 out of the 7,201 areas of the UK recorded.

Like most regions of the UK, output per hour in the EE is below the UK average. Productivity per hour in the region was 4.6% below the UK average which ranked the region fourth 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 EE’s performance.

Perhaps the most useful 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.

All of the regions 5 LEPs recorded productivity below the UK average. Hertfordshire was the best and was ranked 10th at just 0.2% below, the other four LEPs all performed reasonably well and ranged from 4% to 9% below the UK average. SEMLEP, Cambridge & Peterborough LEP and the South East LEP were ranked 13th, 17th and 18th. New Anglia LEP at 9% below was ranked 21st out of 44 economic regions.

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%.

The EE’s results for productivity growth were more mixed. With growth of 7%, SEMLEP was the sixth best in the UK. The Cambridge & Peterborough LEP was ranked 12th nationally with growth of 5%, beating the New Anglia LEP which was ranked 17th with 3% growth. Two of the region’s LEPs recorded productivity levels lower in 2018 than 2010; the South East at -0.2% was ranked 34th, three places above Hertfordshire LEP which recorded -0.6% .

All of the EE’s three subregions recorded productivity below the UK average. Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire was just below at -0.5%, Essex -6% and East Anglia -7%.

At district level, led by Luton (+5%), five of the EE’s economic regions recorded productivity above the UK average. The other 11 areas dropped below the UK average, with Southend-on-Sea recording the lowest productivity at -30%.

The growth in hours worked between 2010 and 2018 in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire area was 26%, beating Essex which recorded 17% and East Anglia on 11%. In UK terms this level of growth was in the top half of the country’s 40 subregions with Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire ranked third.

If the increase in economic output is also factored in then the sub regional performances are mixed. East Anglia was ranked 14th in the UK with growth of 4%, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire was placed 28th with 1% and Essex was 36th with -0.4%. 

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the region was 9,000 higher at 110,000 between November and January; the uplift of 0.3% took the overall rate to 3.4%. 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 78.4% in the EE where 3.2m are employed; the UK rate was 76.5%.

The EE’s average property price decreased by 2.2% to £286,999, which took the annual decrease to 0.6%. In comparison, UK prices decreased by 1.1% to £231,185 during January, an annual growth rate of 1.3%.