Wales has seen second biggest GVA growth since financial crisis, new ONS figures show
Wales has seen the second greatest economic growth since the financial crisis, according to the latest ONS figures.
Between the first quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2021 Wales saw a cumulative growth in regional gross value-added of 14.7%.
That was dwarfed by London’s 35.2%, but higher than any other nation or region of the UK, including Scotland at 9.2% and Northern Ireland at 4.5%. The Northeast of England saw the smallest increase at 1.2%.
The figures by the ONS show that the pandemic put even London and the South-east of England into budget deficits, but public revenues in Wales per head appear to have held up better than the UK as a whole.
The new figures would tend to suggest however that ‘levelling up’ is not happening, with northern parts of England, in particular, falling behind the capital.
First pandemic-era regional fiscal gaps published today by the @ONS. Striking changes as London and South East England move into negative territory — every nation & region of the UK now has a fiscal deficit. In fact, revenues per head in Wales fell a lot less than the UK average. pic.twitter.com/tnft2wvzoi
— Ed Gareth Poole 🏴 (@EdGarethPoole) May 27, 2022
David Smith, the Times‘ economics editor who collated the figures, said that “businesses and government have to work together if we are to reverse decades of rising regional inequality. Not wishing to spoil anybody’s weekend, the omens are not good.”
He added that London’s continued growth “runs against the general perception, which is that London was hardest hit by the pandemic — hit by a plunge in commuter numbers and a loss of city centre activity.
“But London and the southeast may have adapted more quickly to working from home, and local town centres appear to have thrived even as the centre was struggling.
“It is part of a longer-term pattern. If we take the period since the financial crisis, when people also thought that London was badly wounded, its economy, measured by gross value added, grew by more than 35 per cent to the end of last year, compared with just 1.4 per cent for the northeast.”
He added that the vote for Brxit had not improved the lot of those areas that voted most heavily for it.
“Measured from another recent big event, the EU referendum, it is notable that three of the regions that voted most heavily for Brexit — the West Midlands, the East Midlands and the northeast — had economies at the end of last year that were smaller than at the time of the vote,” h said.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.
The GVA growth figures whilst welcome are modest. The Welsh economy needs to do better and we need the Welsh Government to create an entrepreneurial culture to foster business start ups. More structural projects are needed to include the M4 relief road and better north/south communications, otherwise the economy will stagnate. We can continue to push forward with greener public transport options, but to have one without the other is naive, as public transport travel around Wales is tortuous, time consuming and costly outside the major conurbations.
Why did we do so compartively well and what can we do to improve on it? That’s what we need to know.