Liverpool’s growth to outpace North West

A new report from accountancy firm EY offers an optimistic outlook for economic growth in Liverpool over the next three years. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool city centre and waterfront
Liverpool will outpace the wider North West in the next three years, predicts EY


A new report says Liverpool will outpace the wider North West in terms of economic  growth during the next three years.

Last week, a study by property consultancy Avison Young forecast that employment in Liverpool would reach record levels in 2022 with the creation of 6,000 new jobs. It also projected GVA growth of 6% as the city bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the latest analysis by accountancy firm EY, it is predicted Liverpool will see average GVA growth of 2.8% per year until 2025. This is in line with the UK average and slightly above the projected figure for the North West of 2.7%.

Liverpool and Manchester saw their economies, measured by GVA, fall by the equivalent of 1.1% and 1.5% per year respectively  from 2019 to 2021, while the region’s towns saw their GVA fall by -2.1% per year over the same period.

According to the study, Liverpool’s favourable outlook is underpinned by a supportive mix of sectors, with significant gains expected in property and accommodation and food services.

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Employment gains in the city are expected to be underpinned by growth in the human health and social work and professional, scientific and technical sectors. Avision Young also highlighted growth among the science and health sector within the expanding knowledge quarter.

It shows the North West was among the regions most affected by the initial economic impact of the pandemic. By the end of 2021, the region’s economy, measured by GVA, had recovered to 96.1% of its 2019 size.

This was the second slowest recovery, ahead of only the West Midlands (94.5%). By contrast, the UK’s GVA had recovered to 97% of its pre-pandemic size. This trend is forecast to continue to 2025 with the North West’s GVA set to grow just 6.8% from its pre-pandemic size.

This is behind the UK average of 8.3% and again only ahead of the West Midlands (5.3%). The region’s administrative services and hospitality sectors will be particularly slow to rebound.

The North West’s towns are likely to underperform the wider region. Only Warrington and Chorley will outpace the annual average regional (2.7%) and nationwide (2.8%) GVA growth, with both towns’ GVAs expanding by 3% per year. 

Jenn Hazlehurst, Liverpool office managing partner for EY, said: “With significant services and hospitality sectors, it’s not a surprise that the North West’s economy has had a challenging pandemic so far. However, the region is fortunate to boast two vibrant cities, Liverpool and Manchester, which are on track to eventually register a speedy recovery.

“Although they were particularly exposed to the initial economic impact of COVID-19, city-friendly sectors such as digital, science and technology, and services will eventually bounce back, taking places like Liverpool with them after a slow start.

“As restrictions ease and city footfall increases, the path to recovery will become visible – although action is needed to ensure the recovery is balanced. It’s important other parts of the country are not be left behind London once again, and action is taken to combat inequality – both between regions and within them.”

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