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East Anglia growing faster than key city regions, LEP analysis reveals

PUBLISHED: 17:39 21 December 2015 | UPDATED: 09:26 24 December 2015

Chris Starkie from the New Anglia LEP.

Chris Starkie from the New Anglia LEP.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has welcomed data showing the East Anglian economy expanding at its fastest rate since 2010.

The economies of Suffolk and Norfolk grew at a combined rate of 4.1% last year, according to calculations by the LEP’s economic analyst and based on figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

This was just above the national average (excluding London) of 4.0% and well ahead of the levels achieved by city regions such as Birmingham (1.6%) Manchester (3.2%) and Sheffield (3.1%).

It means the economy of the two counties is now worth £33.9billion a year to the UK economy, representing 2.5% of national output.

Gross value added (GVA) per head, a key measure of regional standards of living and welfare, increased by 3.4% across the two counties, on a par with the UK average and ahead of the non-London UK figure of 3.3%.

An increase of 1.8% in total wages paid by employers in the region was also on a par with the non-London UK average.

A break-down of figures between the two counties shows that while the value of Norfolk’s economy remained ahead of that for Suffolk, at £18.6bn against £15.3bn, Suffolk narrowed the gap with an annual rate of growth of 5% against Norfolk’s 3.3%. Suffolk also achieved GVA per head, at 4.5% compared with Norfolk’s 2.5%.

Sector by sector, Construction contributed most to growth in Suffolk and Norfolk, expanding by 10.6% last year compared with 9.2% nationally. Business Services (7.8%), IT and Communications (6.8%) and Real Estate (6.7%) also showed strong growth, with Agriculture (5.1%) and Manufacturing (3.3%) also well in positive territory.

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP, said: “It is very encouraging to see solid growth in our high value and high future growth sectors such as Business Services and Information Technology and Communications.”

However, he added: “Our focus for 2016 will be supporting businesses to create those high value jobs and skilled workforces that are going to drive up productivity in Suffolk and Norfolk, because although all the figures are going in the right direction in terms of employment and growth we are still lagging behind the rest of the UK when it comes to our actual output.”

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