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Fastest growing UK cities – Manchester moves into third position

Fastest growing UK cities - Manchester moves up into third place

Manchester’s has moved up to become one of the top three of the fastest growing UK cities. This is according to the UK Powerhouse report by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Business & Economic research (Cebr). The report provides an estimate of GVA and job creation within 38 of the UK’s largest cities 12 months ahead of the Government’s official figures.

The city enjoyed 2.8% annual growth in output compared it to the same point in 2015, The latest report found that the economy within the city of Manchester grew to £16.8bn in the 12 months to Q4 2016.

In this quarter’s City Growth Tracker, Manchester has jumped one spot above Oxford to 3rd in the GVA growth rankings. The city has drawn from the strength in the retail sector, as activity on the high street has supported the city’s large retail business base, making up 12% of all businesses in Manchester. The city is also the largest northern tech hub, with 52,000 people in Manchester employed in the industry. Furthermore, Manchester has a substantial financial sector, with many key firms like Barclays settled in the city. As well as this, the greater Manchester area has a foothold in the media industry, with the BBC’s move to Salford.

The report also explains that Manchester has enjoyed relatively robust employment growth of 1.7% year-on-year in Q4 of 2016. Strong consumer demand has supported the city’s high street retailers.

Manchester’s broad industry base has spurred job growth in many industries, from digital technology to media and marketing, all of which have a strong presence in the city. In addition, in the financial industry, over 250 new jobs will be added through the expansion of the finance branch of construction firm Kier.

For the Government’s focus on innovation, tech and R&D to be effectively disseminated across regions and cities, the policies need to be linked with institutions and places (pillars 9 and 10 of the Government’s new industrial strategy). An example of this can be seen in Manchester, likely to feel the tangible effect of a £126 million investment into a world class research institute at the City’s university. Manchester’s tech and digital economy is worth around £1.7 billion annually, and the city is well placed to make further progress. With the Government’s funding into the high-growth science sector, with a range of already well-performing sectors, we forecast Manchester’s GVA to grow by 1.1% by Q4 of 2017.

Jack Coy, an economist at Cebr, said: “The current rounds of investment are likely to have a positive effect in the North and in the Midlands, but are not sufficiently higher than comparable investment in other regions.

“We expect impacts of the new industrial policies to be broadly equal upon most regions, rather than redistributive. A possible exception is Manchester, which is likely to benefit from network and clustering boosts, skills and institutions, high shares of government investment, and new powers for the incoming metro mayor.”

The full UK Powerhouse report discusing the fastest growing UK cities can be downloaded here