Devon city tipped to be first to emerge from recession


Exeter will be the UK’s first city to emerge from the current recession, according to a new report.

According to a report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research which was commissioned by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The Devon city is the best placed to recover from the downturn thanks to a mixture of major infrastructure investment and a focus on low-carbon initiatives.

The Irwin Mitchell City Tracker looked at 50 cities across the UK and forecasts future growth in terms of GVA and employment.

The report, which estimates that the UK entered into a recession in the second half of 2022, expects economic growth to resume in the second half of this year

According to the research, Exeter’s economy is predicted to be 1.3 per cent larger in the final quarter compared to the same period last year.

It is also expected to be in the top five cities for employment with levels rising year-on-year by 1.7 per cent.

The Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan identifies the projects needed to meet the ambition of a carbon neutral city, requiring £200m in investment.

Exeter is followed in the league table by Reading, Birmingham, Brighton, and Edinburgh, all of which are expected to record 1.1 per cent  year-on-year growth in the final quarter.

According to the research, the slowest GVA growth is concentrated in the North with Wakefield and Hull still expected to see their economies contract in size by this time next year. Other cities at the bottom of the league table are Doncaster, Rotherham, Warrington and Bradford.

Cambridge is estimated to have outperformed all areas for jobs in the final quarter of 2022 and according to the study, this is expected to continue with 2.5 per cent growth recorded by the end of  the year

Liverpool, Stoke and Leeds are expected to be in the top 10 for job creation, whilst Milton Keynes, a strong performer in previous studies, is expected to see year-on-year employment growth of just 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Josie Dent, managing economist at Cebr, said: “2023 will be a difficult year for consumers and businesses across the UK, with the cost-of-living crisis expected to lead to falling economic activity.

“However, Cebr forecasts that economic growth will resume in the second half of 2023, with most cities expected to see an annual expansion in GVA by the final quarter.”

Charlotte Rees-John

Charlotte Rees-John, partner and head of Irwin Mitchell’s consumer sector, said: “Last year presented numerous challenges and the downward pressure on spending activity, which continues to be concentrated in the consumer sector, looks set to continue throughout the first half of 2023.

“The consumer sector has however been one of the most resilient, agile and innovative sectors in recent times and those businesses that succeed during 2023 will be in a very strong position to take advantage of a more stable economic environment in 2024.

“Considering longer-term aspirations, such as the transition to carbon net zero, is something all businesses, irrespective of the sector they are in and the pressures that they are facing, need to do. ESG is fast becoming a priority for the majority, particularly at a time when there is huge pressure and scrutiny from consumers and investors who are increasingly making their decisions based on ethical as well as financial factors.”


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