Stoke-On-Trent’s economy is predicted to grow by £39 million despite Brexit and rising inflation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The city's economy is on course to be £39 million larger by the end of 2017, according to a new study by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The latest UK Powerhouse report, produced by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that the value of goods and services produced in Stoke-on-Trent will grow by 0.6 per cent over the next 12 months – despite challenges including Brexit, rising inflation and falling investment by businesses. You can download the full report here:

Irwin Mitchell, which commissioned the report, forecasts that by the end of this year, the value of Stoke-on-Trent's economy will stand at £4.6 billion – £39 million more than it was in the three months following the EU Referendum.

Vicky Brackett, CEO of business legal services at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Challenges bring opportunities and although the economic landscape will get tougher, we believe there is huge potential to help businesses unlock the potential that the UK regions offer.

“UK firms have been incredibly resilient in 2016, and if businesses and governments work collaboratively and we focus on the right areas I think a huge amount can be achieved to raise productivity levels across the UK."

Business experts have welcomed Irwin Mitchell's latest prediction.

Sara Williams, chief executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “The majority of businesses are optimistic about the medium to long-term prospects for their business and the local economy. Our Quarterly Economic Survey results from quarter three 2016 certainly back this up.

“It is fantastic that businesses are creating more jobs and expecting their workforces to expand. However, we do need to keep an eye on worrying trends like the level of UK sales and orders falling, the impact on importers of the exchange rate and the rising cost of raw materials. The local economy is still growing but at a slower rate than before the referendum.

“In Staffordshire, we are fortunate that our local firms are nimble, flexible and able to respond to changes in the economic environment."

Jonathan Dale, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership board member, who leads on business innovation and growth, said: “It is very good news that Stoke-on-Trent's economy is continuing to grow, even during a time of some uncertainty for business.

“Stoke-on-Trent is an area with a very positive offer to investors thanks to its excellent, well-connected location at the heart of the country, strong track record of industry and innovation and its new Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone."

According to the report, the economy in Cambridge will be the fastest growing in 2017 while the economies of Swansea, Belfast and Middlesbrough are expected to expand at the slowest rate.

But although Stoke-on-Trent's economy is set to grow, it will be at a much slower rate than it was in the 12 months to September 2016 when it posted growth of 2.1 per cent.

Jack Coy, an economist at CEBR, added: “The delayed effects of Brexit have been in the pipeline for a while and there will be some difficult economic pressures in 2017. These are likely to be felt throughout cities across the UK, and threaten to slow growth in the short and medium term."

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