Preston “one of Britain’s fastest growing economies”, new report says

Looking Down a Busy Fishergate Pic: Tony Worrall

A national law firm has named Preston the fourth fastest growing economy in the UK in 2021.


Irwin Mitchell’s report says Preston has seen its economy grow 8.5% in the past 12 months.

The report attributes some growth to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), a city employer with around 38,000 employees and students.

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Hannah Clipston, partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The UK economy has undergone significant changes over the past two years, and this report underlines that the recovery is unlikely to be linear or even uniform.

Another important factor for the local economy is the producer of defense systems, BAE Systems, which has several sites in the region.

In September 2021, the company was awarded a contract to provide the US Navy with engineering and support services worth around £ 350million.

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But the next 12 months will see the city struggle to maintain this position.

The Center for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) produced the Powerhouse study in the UK. It analyzes 50 of the largest local economies in terms of employment and GVA growth.

Preston’s fourth position contrasts with the evolution of the labor market, where employment is estimated to decline 0.5% on an annual basis in 2021.

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The report highlights the challenges, where it says Preston’s economy will grow year on year by just 2.5% in 2022, and the number of people with jobs will grow by just 0.7% over the course of from the same period.

The study reveals that the South-West and the South-East have the largest share of companies engaged in an innovative activity. 41% of companies in the South-West are innovative compared to 37% in the North-West.

The most popular driver of innovation is improving the quality of goods and services. Only a quarter of companies in the South East innovate to respond to environmental concerns and a desire to reduce their carbon footprint.

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The proportion was even lower in London and the South West, where the figure was only 20%.

Hannah said: “Businesses have been incredibly resilient over the past two years and have faced a number of disruptors, including Covid, labor shortages, supply chain issues and high costs of labor. fuel.

“Our latest study recommends that no matter what industry they find themselves in, organizations should adopt technology faster and adapt to the UK’s new post-Brexit status.

“All of this will require a change in approach and for innovation to be celebrated and encouraged more than it is now. Businesses need to be encouraged to follow this path and receive the right level of support to help them succeed.

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Amanda J. Marsh