Covid-19 could wipe £12bn from West Yorkshire economy

According to documents published by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority ahead of its next meeting on Monday 27 July, the current worst case scenario for a Covid-19 led downturn could cost the region £12bn and 58,000 jobs this year.

This figures, which are from research by Experian are based on the concept that there is a second period of lockdown from the Q4 of 2020 with similar restrictions and a similar duration to the one earlier this year.

The report highlights that this would effectively lead to a double dip recession, resulting in the West Yorkshire economy not recovering to its pre-crisis activity levels until the start of 2024 and unemployment levels not recovering until 2027.

Conversely the best case scenario, using the same modelling and the current OBR forecast which suggest economic levels will return broadly to pre-crisis levels by the end of Q3 2020 shows the cost of the crisis could be a 10% fall in GVA equating to a drop of up to £5.3bn and the loss of 30,000 jobs.

These scenarios are part of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s draft economic recovery plan which sets out the actions it believes are needed for a locally led recovery that builds on the region’s strengths and puts in place measures to support jobs.

If the plan is agreed by the Combined Authority, it will form the basis of discussions with Government on the support the region’s approach to recovery which the organisation has dubbed, “rescue, re-imagining and resilience”.

The report highlights that through recovery it seeks to create ” resilient and thriving businesses, boosted by innovation, high skills and entrepreneurialism”, deliver “inclusive growth and a decent standard of living, where good work and wellbeing allow as many as possible to contribute to, and benefit from the region’s economy”, and achieve a ” clean growth recovery” which supports the authority’s zero carbon ambitions.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and leader of Bradford Council, said: “The Combined Authority and its partners are focused on doing all they can to support our region in the recovery from the devastating impact of COVID-19. These draft plans are about creating a better, more equal economy for the future and a cleaner, sustainable environment, with better jobs, higher skills and the right infrastructure for our communities.

“This work has been led by local leaders, because the recovery efforts must be led locally if they are to be successful – focused on our local needs and led by those who know the West Yorkshire people and its economy.”