Hull and Rotherham lead the charge for economic growth

The Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.
The Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.
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A STRONG end to 2017 led Hull and Rotherham to maintain their positions as the fastest growing economies in Yorkshire, according to a new report.

The UK Powershouse study provides and estimate of GVA (Growth Value Added) growth and job creation for 45 of the country’s largest cities.

The report, by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, is published 12 months ahead of the Government’s official figures and placed Hull eighth overall in terms of GVA growth, after it recorded a rate for 1.5 per cent of the final quarter of last year.

It comes after the “rip-roaring” success of the city’s year in the spotlight at UK City of Culture, which gave an estimated £60m boost to the economy and saw the city council invest millions in public realm and infrastructure.

Hull City Council’s director of regeneration, Mark Jones, said: “One of the main aims of the City Plan is to create the conditions for growth and new, quality jobs. This strategy is clearly working. As UK City of Culture, Hull has capitalised on every opportunity for driving growth and last year, we saw six million visitors to the city, a fantastic result in terms of visitor experience and local spend. In coming years, we will continue to reap the benefits of over £3 billion invested in Hull from both the private and public sectors and a confident level of investment over the future years, resulting in more jobs.”

Rotherham, which recorded a growth rate of 1.4 per cent for the same period, ranked just outside the top 10.

Rotherham Council leader, Coun Chris Read, said: “We have seen are some big investments coming into the Advanced Manufacturing Park, notably McLaren, but also others that are bringing high paid, specialist jobs into the borough. We also have Liberty Steel, which having been in the position two years ago where we were facing big layoffs, actually taking on staff. It’s the brightest it’s been for a long time.”

While the report has a note of caution for the long-term prospects for all of Yorkshire’s cities - with all expected to lag behind other rival cities in terms of employment and GVA growth by 2028, Coun Read said Rotherham’s success looked to continue for the year ahead.

“We have a number of big economic development projects ongoing, with some movement around the town centre masterplan, which will bring in jobs over the next one or two years,” he said. “Work is starting at the Gulliver’s Valley theme park, that will bring in 200 jobs once it’s concluded. We’re only a few months away from finalising our local plan for housing, and we’re expecting growth in house building in the coming year, with something like 200 more council houses - so there’s a number of schemes coming together.”

In terms of employment, Wakefield ranked seventh for its annual growth rate of 0.8 per cent, taking the number of people in work to 153,500.

The study also looked at the future prospects for growth and highlighted York to rise up the employment rankings and reach 13th by the end of 2018.

Partner and head of business legal services at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield, Dorrien Peters, said: “Wakefield’s employment growth and the predicted performance for York this year is also welcome news, although at this point the long-term expectations for the region will be viewed by many as a cause for concern.”