Economic overview of Yorkshire

With half of the year already behind us we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to take a look back 2017 to date – a year that has been, if the news reports are anything to go by, plagued by political uncertainty; the Prime minister’s Industrial Strategy, which provided a £556m boost for the Northern Powerhouse initiative, the release of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s first Budget, the triggering of Article 50, and one of the most notorious General Elections in the history of Great Britain.

Furthermore, we’ve witnessed the resignation of Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy, and George Osborne’s career overhaul as he takes on the role of Editor of the London Evening Standard. Two not insignificant figures in the prioritisation of the Northern economic strategy which could have been disastrous.  

And yet, despite this period of upheaval and high political drama, all signs point to continued success for Yorkshire; with many businesses already established in the region reporting that they are continuing to flourish, and no end of new businesses setting up shop in ‘God’s own Country’.

According to the Business in Britain report from Lloyds Bank, released in June, business confidence throughout Yorkshire has increased to 23%, from January’s score of 17%. In fact, the region’s business community is feeling more optimistic than London, the East Midlands and West Midlands.

Commenting on these results, Leigh Taylor, regional area director for SME businesses, Lloyds Banking Group, said that ‘the fact that confidence is rising in the current climate is a positive sign for the region’.

This increase in confidence is also backed up by the number of jobs being created in Yorkshire and the Humber – reflective of the fall in UK unemployment rate to 4.5% in June (Financial Times), from 4.8% in October 2016. An overall decrease that, according to the regional Lloyds Bank PMI report, released earlier this year covering both Yorkshire and the Humber, has been attributed to an increase in business activity.

And one doesn’t need to look far to see examples of such confidence in the region, with the arrival of two of the world’s leading manufacturers, McLaren and Boeing announced in February this year – with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) expanding their research and development capacity. A move that certainly helps to put Yorkshire at the very epicentre of the 21st Century’s industrial revolution.

The planned Doncaster Airport Rail Station, set to connect Doncaster with London in just 80 minutes, is another success story for the region. The train line is to have an effect beyond the airport site as a catalyst for encouraging investment, providing new jobs and support the growing innovation district at the airport’s 1,600 acre site, known as Aero Centre Yorkshire.

Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: “Doncaster Sheffield Airport is one of few regional airport sites in the UK which offers unconstrained physical and airspace capacity with the existing runway able to accommodate a throughput of 25 million passengers per annum, providing an international gateway serving the east side of the country.”

And with so many success stories to tell, it is hardly surprising that the topic of ‘talent’ has also started to come to the fore. After all, attracting and maintaining top-talent is going to be key to the region’s ongoing economic capability moving forward.  

This investment in both skills and businesses is indicative of the past success of the region, yet also the success that is yet to come. Through pulling together to achieve transformational change in the collaborations between universities, businesses and transport links it means we are building a thriving, super-connected and successful Yorkshire economy.

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