Economic growth strongest in West and East Midlands
The UK economy grew at its fastest pace in the West Midlands and East Midlands for six months, according to a report by Markit for Lloyds Bank.
Research showed that output increased in January as the services sector performed well, but some areas, such as the North East, experienced slow growth due to job losses. Scotland was found to have experienced the slowest economic growth as a result of the oil price collapse, which has led to job losses.
Lloyds Banking Group Managing Director, Tim Hinton, commented on the report, stating: “Despite a number of headwinds, UK businesses recorded their fastest output growth for six months in January. A promising start to 2016.”
The report studied activity in all regions, using scores of 50 and higher to show an increase in growth, and scores below 50 for decline. The UK was given a score of 56.1 in January, showing an increase from December when its score was 55.3.
The West Midlands scored 58.7, showing that it was the strongest region for growth, with the East Midlands not far behind at 58.3. The East of England also received a high score of 56.6, followed by London with a score of 56.4.
The report also showed that employment has continued to rise in England and Wales, though Wales experienced a lower rise than other areas, and employment levels in the North East continued to drop.
Whilst signs of the economy recovering in areas beyond London will be welcomed by Chancellor George Osbourne, there may be concerns over the lack of growth in the North East.
It was recently revealed that only 50% of small businesses in the North East are backing the Chancellor’s plans to build a “Northern Powerhouse” to improve economic growth in the region.