Eastern England bucking trend of falling prosperity across UK regions

PUBLISHED: 08:51 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:14 05 September 2017

File photo of ten and twenty pound notes on a pile of coins. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

File photo of ten and twenty pound notes on a pile of coins. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Britain’s regional prosperity is starting to take a hit from tougher economic conditions and uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations – but the East of England is fighting off the impacts.

According to Barclays’ 2017 UK Prosperity Map, areas including London, the North East, North West and South West, as well as Wales and Scotland, have seen a drop in their overall affluence.

But regions including Eastern England, the South East and the East Midlands experienced an overall rise in prosperity scores, with the East ranked as the third most prosperous region.

The report said the region’s small business community played a key role in the prosperity rise – overall SME turnover grew by 6%, with businesses in Norwich seeing an increase of 9%.

The map calculates regional scores based on factors such as gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, house prices, charitable giving, working hours and average house prices.

The report noted that the slowdown came against a backdrop of “fluctuating economic conditions” as well as ongoing Brexit negotiations.

It also explained that Britain’s largest cities are hoarding more wealth than their wider regions, highlighting discrepancies in GDP per capita and earnings.

Cambridge was ranked as the UK’s third most prosperous city in the report and was said to be leading house price growth in the East of England – which had the fastest-growing prices outside London.

Dena Brumpton, Barclays’ chief executive of Wealth & Investments, said: “The continued economic growth of the UK’s cities is further cause for optimism – but if the current trend of high prosperity growth in cities continues, regions risk being left behind by their flourishing centres.

“The challenge for businesses and policymakers is to find new ways of bridging this gap and ensuring greater balance in how each part of the UK is sharing in the country’s prosperity.”

Barclays data shows that the number of UK millionaires increased, jumping 7.6% year-on-year, with every region excluding Scotland seeing an increase in wealthy individuals.

According to data collected by Barclays covering full-year 2016, one in 79 Brits are now millionaires, up from one in 84 a year earlier.

The East Midlands and South West experienced the greatest increase in their millionaire population, up 11.1% and 10.5%, respectively.

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