Monday, January 8, 2018

News: Rotherham places top as Yorkshire’s fastest growing economy

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Rotherham is the fastest growing city economy in Yorkshire, and the eighth fastest growing economy in the UK, according to a new report.

The UK Powerhouse study is produced by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and provides an estimate of GVA growth and job creation within 45 of the UK's largest cities 12 months ahead of the Government's official figures.

The report shows that Rotherham had a growth of 1.8% across October to December 2017. It was joined in the top ten with Hull, which recorded a rate of 1.8%, while Wakefield also had a rate of 1.7%.

Rotherham rose 18 places on the GVA table to rank eighth in terms of growth. The only economies ahead of Rotherham were Cambridge (2.2%), Aberdeen (2%), Derby, Milton Keynes, Ipswich, and Oxford (all 1.9%).

GVA, or Growth Value Added, is the increase in the value of the economy due to the production of goods and services. It is widely recognised by Government and policy makers as a measure of local economies.

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The report goes on to state that Rotherham has built on its historical manufacturing sector specialising in heavy steel, and now plays a key role in the manufacturer of bespoke products for the aerospace, nuclear and transportation industries, driven by research and development in technologies.

More favourable exchange rates can boost exports and manufacturing production, and therefore GVA. Rotherham's economy has a higher percentage of manufacturing businesses than the national average.

The location and success of the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation District – which sits on the Rotherham/Sheffield border – and the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre was significant in attracting investment from the likes of Boeing and McLaren, making a significant difference to the assessment of Rotherham's performance against its peers.

Dorrien Peters, partner and Head of Business Legal Services at Irwin Mitchell's Sheffield office, said: "The rate of growth seen in Rotherham, Hull and Wakefield is a great testament to the excellent work being done by businesses across Yorkshire.

"The location of the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham and its success attracting investment from the likes of Boeing and McLaren makes a significant difference to the assessment of Rotherham's performance against its peers. While there has been less good news for Leeds and Sheffield, the study has still emphasised that those cities are home to impressive education sectors which contribute a significant amount to their economies.

"Our latest Powerhouse Report shows that Rotherham's impressive growth is a huge testament to the vision of our universities, together with Rotherham and Sheffield, to build a world class Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District. It is a decision that is supported by the hard economic data that shows the worth of manufacturing and education to the wider Sheffield city region."

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The Rotherham Economic Plan seeks to increase GVA through growing, attracting and starting businesses. It highlights that, while GVA is a sign of economic vitality, it is not possible to produce an accurate figure at borough level. In the wider Sheffield city region (SCR), the private sector added some £1.34 billion in GVA between 2013 and 2015. However, it has been estimated that the city region's GVA has to increase by £3 billion just to reach the national average (excluding London) and GVA per head in SCR is only £16,786, suggesting low productivity.

As the AMP continues to grow and the surrounding innovation district develops, the SCR Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), estimates that the number of jobs in Rotherham's advanced manufacturing sector will increase by 2,300. The SCR's new economic growth strategy focuses on inclusion.

Cllr. Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy at Rotherham Council, said: "Rotherham's ambition is to create the right conditions for growth and regeneration and these results give confidence to businesses looking to invest in jobs, homes and developments within Rotherham.

"We look forward to creating an economy in which there are more growing and innovative businesses, where more local people are in work, both highly skilled and entrepreneurial, and where the transport, digital and environmental infrastructure, along with the housing offer and quality of place, support economic growth."

Images: Nikken

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