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Region falls further behind in output stakes

Thursday 13 December 2012 6:00

The output gap between the North East and the UK average has widened further, new figures show, with the region now bottom of the pile in England when it comes to the value of our goods and services.

Figures released yesterday show North East workplace Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2011 was £41.6bn which, although a 1.5% increase on 2010, is considerably less than the UK-wide rate of 2.4%.

The North East showed the lowest rate of increase, while the South East – at 3.1% - had the highest rate.

North East workplace based GVA per head was £15,842, compared to an England average of £21,349 and UK average of £20,873.

This is a 0.8% increase on 2010 compared to an England and UK increase of 1.4%. The South East saw the highest increase at 2.2% with London lowest at 0.6%.

The North East’s per head index is 75.9 where the UK is 100. This is the lowest in England, but above Wales. Only London (at 170.7) and the South East are indexed above 100.

NECC chief executive James Ramsbotham reacted to the disappointing figures by claiming the North East is an untapped asset in an unbalanced economy.

“The overriding issue demonstrated by these figures is the serious imbalance in the UK economy, which appears to be widening,” he said.

“The North East is an unrealised asset the UK should make much more of, but the failure to rebalance the economy and bring the region up to the national average has cost the UK £13bn.

“This could be addressed if investment in the North East was increased so we enjoyed parity with southern regions, particularly the South East, but at the moment we’re entering the fight with one hand tied behind our back.”

He added that the NECC’s own surveys show a brighter picture here with member businesses holding up well, enjoying strong manufacturing growth and record exports.