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Ipswich retains Powerhouse ranking as one of UK’s fastest growing city economies

PUBLISHED: 16:10 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:10 03 January 2018

The Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre. Picture: PHIL GRAYSTON

The Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre. Picture: PHIL GRAYSTON

Phil Grayston

Ipswich remains one of the UK’s fastest-growing city economies, and is well placed to maintain or even improve its ranking this year, according to a new report.

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council. Picture: ISSBADavid Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council. Picture: ISSBA

The latest UK Powerhouse study, covering the third quarter of 2017, ranks Ipswich in fifth place nationally in terms of year-on-year growth in Gross Value Added (GVA) − a measure of the value of goods and services produced.

Cambridge heads the table (with growth of 2.2%) and is followed by Aberdeen, Derby and Milton Keynes with Ipswich next (on 1.9%).

Two other East of England cities also make the top dozen with Norwich in seventh place (with growth of 1.8%) and Peterborough in 12th (1.7%).

The region performs slightly less well in terms of employment although all four locations achieved growth with Cambridge 12th (up 0.8%), Ipswich 18th (0.7%), Peterborough 27th (0.6%) and Norwich 28th (also 0.6%).

Paul West of Suffolk County Council. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILPaul West of Suffolk County Council. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

In terms of GVA, Ipswich’s ranking is unchanged from the previous Powerhouse survey, published last October, but the new report holds out the prospect of an even stronger performance this year.

In a projection of GVA growth during 2018, Cambridge retain top spot with a growth forecast of 2.19% while Ipswich is predicted to achieve an increase of 1.75%, which would put it in fourth place. Norwich and Peterborough are forecast to rank eighth and 11th, with growth of 1.62% and 1.5% respectively.

The UK Powerhouse study is produced by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

Victoria Brackett, chief executive of business legal services at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Ipswich’s performance in the latest UK Powerhouse report is a strong testament to the great work being undertaken within the city.

Nick Burfield of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. Picture: DAVID GARRADNick Burfield of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. Picture: DAVID GARRAD

“It is one of several in the East of England which is a leader for innovation, with the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre which opened last year particularly providing support for young entrepreneurs, businesses and academics in the city.”

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “This independent report highlights yet again how well the Ipswich economy is performing in comparison to other areas.

“Building the local economy is one of our top priorities so we will not rest on our laurels. Working with our Ipswich Vision partners we will continue to invest to enhance Ipswich’s role as a strategic regional centre.

“The report highlights the role of universities in driving growth and last year we agreed to fund an industrial quality 3D printer for the Waterfront Innovation Centre at the university, allowing them to provide a service unique to the region. It is strategic investments like this that will keep Ipswich growing.”

Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Ipswich, said: “It is pleasing to see that Ipswich is continuing to be recognised as one of the fastest-growing economies, with a positive outlook for 2018 predicted.

“I, along with many others, believe that a strong Ipswich is needed for a strong Suffolk. We know that Ipswich is in a good place and there are many exciting things to come for the town in the future, which will not only be good for Suffolk, but East Anglia and the rest of the UK.”

Nick Burfield, policy director at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, added: “This survey demonstrates what our members have been telling us for some time: Ipswich is not a ‘make do’ but a ‘can do’ place in which to run a business.

“With improving transport links, comparatively low land prices and an increasingly skilled and adaptable workforce, Ipswich’s diverse and entrepreneurial business community is well prepared for future opportunities and challenges.”

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