People in Yorkshire cities thousands worse off due to poor growth since 2010, research finds
Analysis by Centre for Cities suggests that the average disposable income in these places was up to £14,000 lower than it would have been if the economy had grown at historic levels.
In eight of Yorkshire’s major towns and cities growth disposable income per head was lower than it would have been if it had grown in line with 1988-2010 trends, the report found.
York was one of only seven places in the country which bucked this trend, but researchers said that this was due to an underwhelming past performance rather than a particularly good showing in recent years.
Wakefield and Hull incomes have missed out the most, according to the research, with the former seeing £14,000 less due to poor growth, while Hull underperformed by £12,260, worse than the national average of £10,200.
Centre for Cities said that the figures showed that the next government needs to “go beyond the rhetoric” after both main parties pledged to grow the economy.
The report found that the UK had experienced a “jobs boom” since 2010 but that this has not been accompanied by a growth in productivity.
All but two of the 63 major towns and cities across the country saw jobs growth, but productivity growth, which is the key driver behind higher wages, was poor across the board.
For example, while Leeds saw a 22 per cent net job creation since 2010 it saw productivity drop by 0.3 per cent in the same period.
Huddersfield was the only place in Yorkshire to see an average increase in productivity growth between 2010 and 2021 of more than 1 per cent, the eighth best in the country.
The researchers noted that increased housing costs were a major hit to disposable incomes as it became less affordable in almost every place in the UK.
In 2021 there were six cities, all in the North and the Midlands where over a third of children are from households with relative poverty, while there were none in 2014.
Centre for Cities noted that a major factor was the “policy churn” around changing strategies for local growth such as rebalancing the economy, the Northern Powerhouse, local industrial strategies, and finally Levelling Up.
It said that despite a slowdown in the performance of the South East of the country, growth in its jobs meant that its share of the country’s employment, output and income have increased further, cementing the dominance of London.
“On these measures, not only does the North-South divide still exist, it has widened,” the report said.
Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said: “The UK has had a torrid time since the Great Recession. Everywhere, up and down the country, including places that were doing relatively well before, has been levelled down because of the lack of growth.
“To get growth in every place, the next Government needs to act at a radically different pace and scale, and mark the beginning of a multi-decade policy programme.
“The first step in a realistic approach to grow the economy is to recognise that the British economy is an urban economy.
“Cities account for nine per cent of the land and over 60 per cent of the economy, as well as 72 per cent of high skilled jobs. Their slowdown is at the heart of why the national economy is struggling. There is no plausible way of achieving higher growth without increasing the innovation and dynamism of urban Britain.
“This means reforming the planning system to enable cities to grow, devolving more powers and financial freedoms to encourage our big cities to make decisions that support growth, and following the levelling up rhetoric with bold actions.”