Information in the latest Good Growth Cities for Growth showed Yorkshire’s cities to have experienced substantial growth in jobs and new businesses in the last year as the national economy picked up.
However, the region is still lagging behind on crucial areas such as income, health and owner occupation of housing.
The skill set of the region’s workforce also compared poorly with the rest of the nation, with only Leeds exceeding the national average.
Across the country the majority of UK cities and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas are now outperforming their pre-financial crisis peak, according to data, produced by PwC and the think-tank, Demos.
It showed that cities in the so-called Northern Powerhouse catchment area were broadly in line with the UK average.
However, of its five lowest ranked areas, two were in Yorkshire, namely those of Doncaster and Wakefield and Castleford.
Stephanie Hyde, head of regions at PwC, said devolution now had a critical role to play in making good growth a reality on the ground in cities across the UK:
“For the new Prime Minister to deliver an ‘economy that works for all’, the challenge is to unlock the potential of the UK’s cities as engines of sustainable growth by investing in the social and physical infrastructure that businesses require to succeed and people need to prosper.
“Devolution is a central part of the answer to unleashing the economic potential of the UK. By giving local leaders the ability to control the levers of good growth, cities can tailor their approach to economic development to their own unique strengths, weaknesses and potential.”
The research was compiled from data up to 2015 and therefore does not contain any findings which may have transpired since the vote for the UK to leave the European Union, with its authors saying that the affordability of housing was likely to improve as a result of Brexit but that start-up businesses will struggle due to the ongoing economic uncertainty.
Jonathan House, PwC Partner said: “When it comes to jobs and the commitment of business, the Northern Powerhouse is performing on cue.
“The Northern Powerhouse network is reporting over 180,000 new jobs in the last 12 months
alone and a raft of new business recruits supporting the network and its objectives.
“If all of these businesses deliver on their commitment to help attract new investment and sustainable employment into the region, the future looks bright.
“Overall, the region is showing a strong performance, but the individual Local Enterprise Partnerships are reflecting some mixed messages.
“Almost without exception, the biggest increase in the index since our last survey is around job creation, but that seems to be coming at the price of owner-occupation, work-life balance and travel-to- work times.
“Looking at the wider UK Good Growth index, there is some evidence that rapid employment
growth can impact on households, income distribution and the house price to earnings ratio.
“It is important therefore that the future growth of the Northern Powerhouse fits our ‘good
growth’ criteria, and that embraces the concept that there’s more to life than GVA.”
Martin Venning, Director of UK Northern Powerhouse Conference and Exhibition, said: “The PwC report has some important implications for economic growth in the North of England and needs to be more widely discussed amongst the business community.
“The UK NorthernPowerhouse Conference provides an opportunity for all those interested in the Northern Powerhouse to come together and discuss initiatives such as this.”