Leeds’ economy set for £184m growth despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty

Leeds city centre skyline with Bridgewater Place, The Town Hall and Leeds University.

Leeds city centre skyline with Bridgewater Place, The Town Hall and Leeds University.

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The city economy of Leeds is on course to be £184m larger by the end of 2017 than it was in the three months after the EU referendum result, according to a new study by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The UK Powerhouse report, produced for Irwin Mitchell by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, predicts that the value of goods and services produced in Leeds will grow by 0.6 per cent during 2017. Employment levels are expected to be 3,700 higher.

Although Leeds’ economy is set to grow in 2017, it will be at a much slower rate than in the 12 months to Q3 2016 when it posted growth of 2.4 per cent.

The study also revealed that not one of the top 10 fastest growing cities in 2017 will be in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ region with places such as Greater Manchester and Sheffield expected to post gross value added growth of 0.7 per cent during 2017.

According to the report, Cambridge, Oxford and Milton Keynes will be the fastest growing economies in 2017, although their expansion rates will be significantly lower than they were in the three months immediately after the EU referendum vote. The economies of Swansea, Belfast and Middlesbrough are expected to expand at the slowest rate.

Andrew Walker, head of business legal services in Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, said: “Leeds performed strongly in the three months following the referendum result but we expect the continually unfolding political events to impact on growth over the next 12 months.

“Challenges do however bring opportunities and exporters in West Yorkshire are taking advantage of their hedged import costs compared to forex rates. Also, the Government’s pledge of £15m to support Northern Powerhouse trade missions and £7m to establish a Northern Powerhouse Investment Taskforce is a huge step in the right direction and will help ensure the economy is firing on all cylinders in a post-Brexit Britain.”

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