YORKSHIRE was hit harder than any other part of the UK by the so-called ‘Great Recession’ which battered Britain over the past six years, a raft of economic data shows today.
The scale of the damage sustained by the region since the banking crash of 2007/08 can be revealed for the first time with a new analysis suggesting Yorkshire businesses and workers alike suffered more than any other part of the country.
The British economy is finally picking up pace in 2014 after years of decline and stagnation, and as it does do statisticians are beginning to place the wreckage caused by the Great Recession into historical perspective.
And the first major study undertaken by experts at the Office for National Statistics has concluded that “the largest decrease in real GVA - a widely-recognised measure of economic output - between 2007 and 2011 was in Yorkshire and the Humber”.
Separate analysis undertaken by the Yorkshire Post reveals that unemployment surged further and faster in Yorkshire than any other part of the country, more than doubling between the start of 2008 and its mid-2011 peak.
Average house prices in the region, meanwhile, are only just recovering to their pre-crash levels, having at one stage lost 16 per cent of their value in little over a year. Over the same six-year period - 2008 to 2014 - house prices rose by one third in London, and by 15 per cent across the UK.
The damage to the next generation has also been hugely significant, with a greater overall rise in youth unemployment in Yorkshire than any other part of the country.
“The effect of the recession has been deep and will be long-lasting, “ said Paul Mackie, president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, who represents business interests in one of the region’s worst-affected cities.
“As well as obvious things such as low confidence and flat-lining recruitment, there have been many facets to the downturn. Margins disappeared and in some areas there was a race to the floor on service and quality.
“Experienced people were lost and with it, valuable skill sets. Banks shutting up shop sent some firms to the wall and affected quality and service.
“Young people coming into the labour market often opted only for ‘safe’ jobs, and this had an impact in areas like engineering and production.
“Older people working longer due to pay cuts also squeezed the labour market – no wonder we have one million unemployed youth.”
The ONS study - based on data still at an ‘experimental’ stage - suggests economic output in Yorkshire fell by 14 per cent between 2007 and 2011, the biggest drop in the country. Yorkshire was also the only region in England where GVA fell year on year throughout the period.