Oxford Street, London
All regions in Britain are more prosperous than last year, a new report reveals today.
By John Chapman/ Express
Some booming areas are now challenging London and the South East for affluence, according to experts. Wealth, spending or earnings rose across the country in the 12 months to April 2016, while jobless rates dropped. Barclays’ Prosperity Map calculates regional scores based on an array of factors such as gross domestic product (GDP), house prices, charitable giving, working hours and average house prices. The upbeat news in the lender’s report comes despite economic uncertainty sparked by China’s economic slowdown, stock market turmoil and the Brexit vote. Akshaya Bhargava, chief executive of wealth, entrepreneurs and business banking at Barclays, said:” It is very encouraging to see the upward trajectory for prosperity in the UK continuing despite recent global volatility.”
While London still ranks as the UK’s most prosperous city, others are “emerging as prosperity hotspots,” the report added. Scotland saw the biggest increase to household wealth, which rose by 13 per cent versus London’s 12 per cent rise. Barclays said the rise was likely linked to Scotland’s median private pensions wealth, which jumped 60 per cent compared to 19 per cent in England and 24 per cent in Wales.
Scotland advanced in the rankings to become the seventh most prosperous region on the index, behind the East Midlands, Northern Ireland, South West and Eastern England, South East and London. The North East emerged as the least prosperous region in the UK, although Barclays noted an “impressive” 6 per cent increase in average annual earnings, reaching £24,748. The report explained: “This is in stark comparison to London, where average earnings dropped by 1 per cent in the same time period.” Meanwhile, Bristol and Cambridge have become “increasingly attractive areas to live and work” with house prices rising 13 per cent and 14 per cent respectively in the 12 months to April.
That is compared to the capital’s housing market, which saw price growth of 11 per cent during the same period. Manchester, Cardiff and Sheffield saw some of the strongest turnover amongst small and medium sized businesses, up 15 per cent, 12 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively. Mr Bhargava added: “The research shows that not only is the UK still ‘open for business’, it sends a clear message that all parts of the UK are sharing in, and contributing to its role as a driver of global prosperity.” However, the UK now has 3.8 per cent fewer millionaires at 690,000. One in every 67 people in the UK is now worth at least seven figures, but they are not all based in London.