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Bristol's economy enjoys 2.4 per cent growth

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Written by: David Clensy | Posted 21 April 2017 8:44

Bristol's economy enjoys 2.4 per cent growth

BRISTOL’S economy performed strongly in 2016, recording a 2.4 per cent increase in economic growth compared to the same point last year and moving into tenth place in a league table for city growth, says a new study.

The UK Powerhouse report by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Business & Economic research (Cebr) provides an estimate of GVA (gross value added) and job creation within 38 of the UK’s largest cities 12 months ahead of the Government’s official figures.

According to the latest study which is published this month, Bristol’s economy is now worth £13.6 billion and its pace of growth moved it above some the country’s biggest cities including London, Birmingham and Leeds.

Highlighting some of the reasons for Bristol’s success, the report found that its high share of creative businesses was driving innovation within the city.

The report said however that despite Bristol’s strong performance in terms of output, employment levels in 2016 only increased by 0.7 per cent. The report also looked further ahead and analysed the impact of the Government’s recently launched industrial strategy on UK cities. It found that in Bristol economy was set to grow by 15.7 per cent by 2026.

Unveiled in January this year, the Government’s green paper outlined a new industrial strategy to help drive and ‘divide growth across the whole country’. Based on 10 key pillars of economic growth, the plan includes a number of methods to promote growth delivered through investment, bolstered by regional growth funds.

However a call for greater support has been made this week by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation in its submission to the government’s consultation on Industrial Strategy.

Read more: Call for businesses to help solves city's transport problems

The organisation says change can happen in South West industry if specific policies in support of industrial strategy are driven by a clear cross-government vision and measurable outcomes.

The organisation said the industrial strategy must systematically tackle the UK’s long-term structural weaknesses with a bold, focused and specific set of policy measures, but the EEF says manufacturers in the South West believe it can only be achieved if government sets itself measurable goals and ensures a policy framework which forms the basis of future fiscal statements.

Jim Davison, director for EEF in the South West, said: “Successive governments have identified the UK’s weak productivity performance and set plans to tackle it, arguably with little success. This time it can be different, however, and we have a real opportunity to make a step change in the UK’s economic performance.

“The green paper is a positive first step in what will be an evolutionary process. A successful strategy must however be more than a list of policy action points. It has to be a framework for ensuring that all policy decisions take the UK economy closer to its goal of higher productivity, increased exports and greater investment in innovation.

“Manufacturers in search of both a competitive and predictable business environment will need to be confident that future government policy decisions will influence their decision to invest and, grow employment in the UK, are anchored in the ambitions of industrial strategy and that Whitehall departments are not allowed to ignore them.”

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