City increases economic lead over rest of Britain

Tim Wallace
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THE CITY of London is increasing its lead as the most competitive economic region of the UK, a new study found yesterday – despite the financial crisis and government efforts to rebalance the economy.

London hosts the nine most competitive boroughs, with the tenth being Windsor and Maidenhead, University of Cardiff and Nottingham Business School researchers found.

The report looked at factors ranging from business start-up rates, education levels, gross value added, employment rates, pay and productivity across 370 regions.

The City has increased its lead over the rest of the UK, the study found.

It gave the financial district a competitiveness score of 773.6, based on a UK average of 100, and means the City’s score has risen 85.2 points since 2010 when the study was last carried out.

When all of London’s boroughs are put together, they achieved a score of 135, up slightly on the last three years.

Next came the South East on 104.7, then the East of England on 98.6 – below the UK average.

Wales performed worst as a region, with a competitiveness index score of 86.4, with the North East next on 86.8.

And the authors warned the stark divergence in competitiveness should also be seen from the position of international business.

The study “does not imply that the majority of Britain is economically bankrupt, but that there is a continuing and growing divide between relatively more or less competitive places,” the report said.

“However, place‐based competition is increasingly global in nature and all localities and regions must find their own niche and economic model within this environment, with the most effective role for economic development institutions being to act a guiding light that ensures sustainable economic models are established.”