Greater Manchester economy to grow by £1.9bn and create almost 28,000 jobs

Bryan Bletso

The Greater Manchester economy is forecast to grow to almost £71bn by the end of 2023, and almost 28,000 jobs will be created, according to a new economic report by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

However, it also warns that the levelling up agenda will stall unless more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is attracted to the region.

Irwin Mitchell’s UK Powerhouse report, produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), forecasts that the value of Greater Manchester’s economy will be £1.9bn larger and the region will employ 27,700 more people by the end of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.

But the report also cautions that other Northern cities will not be so vibrant. Eeconomic growth in Northern cities is expected to be exceeded by that of Southern counterparts and the study says the South or East of England will, by the end of next year, be home to eight of the top 10 fastest growing cities.

Significantly, out of the 50 locations included in the study, more than half of the slowest growing economies are expected to be in the North of England.

Highlighting the strengths and the potential of Manchester, the report says Greater Manchester’s economic success has been borne out of diversifying from traditional industries into new markets.

The North West offers the largest financial services sector outside London, making Manchester perfectly positioned to attract FDI which the UK Powerhouse report identifies as a key factor in promoting the domestic economy.

Manchester has also established itself as a national tech hub and is home to many key players in the video games industry. Several other employers, such as professional services firm EY, are also set to ramp up operations in the city.

The report reveals that despite the most recent stats pointing to a general fall in the number of FDI projects into the UK, the North West is in fourth place with a 10% reduction compared with 23% falls in London and the South East.

The challenge will be for the North West to spearhead a drive for a greater share of what is a key driver for sustained economic growth and to make inroads into the dominance of the South when it comes to FDI.

The report suggests that success here is the key to levelling up Northern cities, by allowing them to benefit from the job creation and growth that such inward investment brings with it.

Bryan Bletso, partner and head of international at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This latest UK Powerhouse report makes clear that Northern cities like Manchester have huge potential.

“The Greater Manchester International Strategy report highlights the importance of working with the Government on delivery of new investment strategy. The incentives needed to drive additional FDI can unlock the strength of a region like the North West and deliver not just on the levelling up agenda, but the wider aim for a truly global Britain post-Brexit.”

He added: “The UK Powerhouse report shows the North West is well placed to make the jump to higher performance in terms of FDI, having seen a smaller percentage change than other regions.

“The time to invest in Manchester’s success is now and by doing so, the corresponding economic growth and job creation will go a long way towards safeguarding future prosperity and making levelling up a reality.

“With targeted investment for Northern regions in growth areas such as the life sciences, coupled with polices and incentives to encourage new streams of FDI, many more should be able to follow in Manchester’s footsteps by recognising the transformative power of FDI on local economies.

“The North West‘s fourth position for FDI is cause for optimism and their performance in the coming years should prove a bellwether for the levelling up process going forwards.”

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