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East Anglia: Region’s output growing fast but still below pre-crisis peak, says RBS Regional Growth Tracker

06:00 20 August 2014

Royal Bank of Scotland has published its Regional Growth Tracker report for the second quarter of 2014.

Royal Bank of Scotland has published its Regional Growth Tracker report for the second quarter of 2014.

The East of England was the fourth fastest growing region in England during the second quarter of 2014, according to analysis by Royal Bank of Scotland.

But the region has yet to regain the level of output achieved before the financial crisis, the latest RBS Regional Growth Tracker report says.

The study shows that the recovery is broadly based, with all nine English regions achieving growth for the sixth quarter in a row, London leading the way followed by the East Midlands and the South East.

However, while these three regions have all now passed their pre-crisis peak, as has the South West, the East of England has yet to regain this milestone, although RBS suggests it is likely to do so during the second half of the year.

RBS economist Stephen Blackman said: “Our Regional Growth Tracker estimates the East of England’s economy expanded by 0.8% in Q2. That makes the East the fourth fastest growing English region.

“Although professional services provided the largest contribution, the region’s owes a thank you to its 13,000 wholesalers, 25,000 retailers and 10,000 firms involved in logistics and distribution. These sectors are more important to the East’s economy than they are typically for the UK and have also grown faster than the UK economy on average.

“The real highlight is that many of England’s fastest growing local area economies are in the East. Hertfordshire tops the table, with its economy the fastest growing English local area, expanding by almost 4% annually.”

Close behind Hertfordshire’s growth of 3.9% were Central Bedfordshire on 3.8% and Thurrock and Luton, both on 3.7%. Essex and Cambridgeshire both saw growth of 3.5%, with Bedford on 3.4%, Suffolk on 3.3% and Southend and Peterborough, both on 3.2%. Bringing up the rear was Norfolk, on 3.1%.

Andrew Harrison, RBS regional managing director for commercial and corporate banking, said: “The East of England is emerging from the economic downturn well positioned to benefit from the increasing pace of growth in the UK. The region’s broad based economy and proximity to London has insulated the East of England from the worst of the economic conditions.

“The concentration of world leading technology businesses in and around Cambridge rightly receives positive profile. It should not be forgotten that more traditional sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing are also making a significant contribution to wealth creation in the region.”

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