Norwich could dodge worst of pandemic's economic onslaught

There have now been more than 50,000 deaths in the UK linked to coronavirus. Picture: Denise Bradley

There have now been more than 50,000 deaths in the UK linked to coronavirus. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

New research has suggested that Norwich may be among the cities least impacted by the pandemic thanks to the diversity of its jobs market. 

A report published by PwC and think-tank Demos shows that Norwich has faced a relatively smaller impact than other cities because of its "sectoral mix and performance". 

On top of this resilience has been provided from "broader social and economic indicators" - such as a relatively low take-up of the Job Retention Scheme with Norfolk on average seeing 20.5pc less people using the scheme per month than in other parts of the country. 

Norwich also scored above the national average on health and environmental factors - which looks at the likes of sustainability and air pollution. 

But the city fell short on income - particularly when analysed in comparison to housing affordability with property prices far outweighing earnings. 

Keith Harrington, PwC's regional market leader for the South East, said: "The pandemic has led to people living their life much closer to home and the likelihood is some of these lifestyle changes will stay for the medium-term.

Keith Harrington of PwC

Keith Harrington of PwC - Credit: PwC

"This opens up opportunities for places like Norwich that have advantages in terms of liveability and community, and where ‘price of success’ factors, such as housing affordability, are less of an issue."

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But although a blend of home and office work is on the cards, the latter is pivotal for the high street's recovery. 

Paul Swinney, director of policy and research at the Centre for Retail Research said: "Looking at the correlation to the high street we are seeing that prior to the pandemic the high streets which were performing best were the ones which had the highest concentration of jobs.  

"Workers who are in the city centres have pounds in their pocket to spend on a sandwich at lunch and maybe a bite to eat after work.

"Business owners see that and think ‘this is a good place to open there are customers seven days a week’ and so we see not only existing business thriving but a greater diversity because people are drawn to the area."

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