Liverpool to fall further behind North West powerhouse Manchester over next two years

Accountancy firm EY’s annual UK Regional Economic Forecast predicts Manchester’s GVA will see a predicted annual increase of 2.4% to 2020 – with Liverpool enjoying just 1.4% growth. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool’s economic growth will be slower than Manchester’s to 2020, EY’s report says


Liverpool’s economy will fall further behind Manchester’s over the next couple of years, a new report forecasts today.

Accountancy firm EY’s annual UK Regional Economic Forecast predicts Manchester’s GVA (gross value added) will see a predicted annual increase of 2.4% between 2017 and 2020 – neck and neck with Reading and the fastest acceleration in the UK.

In contrast, Liverpool does not make the top 10 with a forecast annual increase of just 1.4%, the study reveals. GVA is the standard measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy.

Jobs growth

Manchester is also forecast to top the table for employment growth – 1.2% a year from 2017 to 2020 and equivalent to almost 15,000 net new jobs. Liverpool’s employment growth will be much smaller in comparison at just 0.1%, down from 1% from 2014 to 2017.

Liverpool’s performance is much more closely aligned to the wider North West, which is predicted to have an annual GVA growth rate of 1.5% to 2020, with growth expected across all sectors except public administration.

Although it remains behind average UK GVA growth, which is predicted to be 1.8% to 2020, the North West has performed strongly since 2014, narrowing the gap with the growth leading regions, and benefitted from its diversified economy.

The Liverpool2 deep-water container terminal on the River Mersey is set to boost the economy


Total employment in the North West is expected to increase slightly over the period to 2020, growing, on average, at 0.1% a year. Declining employment is forecast within the manufacturing sector, while professional, scientific and technical services will enjoy strong growth.

Improving lives

Bob Ward, North West Senior Partner at EY, said: “It’s great to see Manchester leading the country in terms of growth. It’s an exemplar of what a long-term, joined-up consistent approach to city development can achieve – attracting investment and ultimately improving people’s lives.

“There has been much talk of the ‘halo effect’ – the smaller towns around a big city also enjoying the benefits of its success. However, the wider North West GVA and employment figures in our report suggest that other cities in the region will not grow to the same extent as Manchester.”

League table

The top UK cities for GVA growth are Manchester (2.4%), Reading (2.4%), Bristol (2.3%), Luton (2.3%), Exeter (2.3%), London (2.2%), Edinburgh (2.1%), Glasgow (2.1%), Cambridge (2%), Birmingham (1.9%) and Southampton (1.9%).

The forecasts presented in the report are produced using the Oxford Economics Local Authority District Forecasting Model and depend upon three factors: National outlooks; historical trends in an area augmented by local knowledge and understanding of patterns of economic development; and fundamental economic relationships which interlink the various elements of the outlook

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