Exeter Named As One Of UK’s Fastest Growing Cities
By Sofy Robertson
Exeter is predicted to be one of the fastest growing cities in the UK over the next three years.
Exeter’s growth forecast is at 1.8%, according to EY’s Regional Economic Forecast. This puts Exeter just above the UK average of 1.7%. Exeter stands at number eight on the list, behind fellow South West city, Bristol, which lies at number four. Three other cities outside of London made the list; Reading (2.3%), Manchester (2.2%) and Birmingham (2.0%).
EY Chief Economist Mark Gregory said that the main drivers for the expected economic growth for Exeter are the strength of its IT, professional services and energy, particularly renewable energy.
For smaller towns and communities, the report is more grave. It states that a slow-down in the retail sector, especially on the high street, will pose significant challenges for smaller towns and communities as retail tends to be the major employer in these types of locations.
In 2018, the South West saw a significant slow-down in its economic growth activity, with 0.8% Growth Value Added (GVA) as opposed to 1.7% in 2017.
The South West is expected to recapture some of this lost ground with its growth rate improving to 1.5% until 2021, although this is still slower than the UK average of 1.7%.
Employment growth in the South West at 0.4% is also set to lag slightly behind the UK rate of 0.5% and Bristol’s impressive 0.9%.
Andrew Perkins, Managing Partner at EY in the South West spoke about the importance of investing in the South West in light of the report.