Merseyside grew fastest in a strong year for Britain’s major city economies

Published on Incomes and Inequality

Merseyside experienced the fastest growth in economic output (GVA per head) of any major city in 2015, but all cities bar London are still worse off than they were before the crisis – highlighting the challenge facing Britain’s new Metro Mayors, the Resolution Foundation said today (Thursday) in response to the latest ONS regional GVA figures.

Resolution Foundation analysis of the latest figures finds that while the UK’s GVA performance was relatively weak in 2015 (1.7 per cent) compared to previous years (3.7 per cent in 2014 and 3 per cent in 2013), economic growth across the major cities was more impressive at 2.3 per cent.

Liverpool city region (Liverpool and Merseyside) experienced the fastest growth across 2015 at 3 per cent, followed by Belfast (also 3 per cent and Greater Manchester (2.9 per cent). Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire experienced the slowest growth of any major city region at 1.6 per cent.

However, the Foundation notes that London remains the only major city in the UK to have a higher GVA compared to before the crisis, despite a relatively poor 2015.

While London is on average £1,270 better off, the rest of the UK city regions are £900 worse off, while the UK as a whole is £450 worse off. Cardiff (-£3,530) and Belfast (-£2,510) are furthest from their pre-crisis GVA levels.

Closing these economic output gaps will be a key task for the first generation of Metro Mayors, who will be elected next May as the UK starts an exciting new phase of devolution.

Stephen Clarke, Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“While 2015 was a relatively weak year for growth in economic output across the UK as a whole, Britain’s major cities performed strongly, especially in the North West.

“Merseyside led the way on GVA last year, growing by 3 per cent, with Greater Manchester not far behind. This strong growth provides a good building block for their new city mayors to build on next year.

“But despite this impressive recent growth, all major cities bar London are still worse off than they were before the crisis. Closing the economic output gap between the capital and Britain’s other major cities will play a central role in delivering economic growth throughout the UK over the next decade.

“As we embark on an exciting new era of devolution next year, setting cities on a course for stronger, shared growth should be a key challenge for Britain’s soon-to-be-elected Metro Mayors.”