WARWICKSHIRE’S economy is the fastest-growing in the country since the 2009 recession, according to new figures.
The Office for National Statistics show that productivity within Warwickshire grew by 30.4 per cent between 2009 and 2016, higher than any other area and nearly double the 16.5 per cent rate for the UK as a whole.
Local economists say it means that what the county’s workforce produced in a typical 37.5-hour working week in 2009, it now produces in 29.3 hours.
Annual growth for Warwickshire is also up by 2.5 per cent between 2015 and 2016, exceeding the UK average by 0.1 per cent.
Separate figures have also been published that show a rise in the number of companies registered here.
Business leaders have pointed to new railway stations at Nuneaton and Coventry Arena, the National Transport Design Centre at Coventry University, Venture House Business Centre in Stratford, and Trident Business Park in Leamington Spa as crucial drivers of the booming economy.
Also cited is major investment into road improvements at Tollbar Junction and the M40 junction 12 for Gaydon, and business support programmes such as the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.
Warwickshire County Council leader, and portfolio holder for economic growth, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said these have helped to attract high-profile investments in the area from major companies such as Amazon, Jaguar Land Rover, SEGA, and TATA Technologies.
“Economic growth is up there amongst this council’s top priorities and it is fantastic to see evidence of our partnership with business bearing fruit,” Cllr Seccombe added.
“It is great that Warwickshire is leading the way nationally in increasing levels of productivity and it is no surprise that businesses are increasingly looking to move to, or expand within, Warwickshire.”
Jonathan Browning, chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), the organisation that distributes tens of millions of pounds of government money to local projects, said: “These figures are very good news for Warwickshire and our wider area. Driving up productivity and economic performance is a key priority for the CWLEP, working with partners.
“The aim now is to ensure that this growth continues right across our patch.
“We have so many assets and we have to continue to push forward on all economic fronts.”
Figures have been published that show 4,617 new companies were formed in Warwickshire during 2017.
Of those, 1,398 were based in Warwick district, 1,049 in Stratford district, 901 in Nuneaton and Bedworth, 892 in Rugby, and 370 in North Warwickshire.
The number was slightly down on 2016’s figure of 4,709, but it does take the total number of registered companies in the county to 35,844 — a rise of five per cent on the 2016 figure of 34,180.
John Korchak, director of operations at Inform Direct, which produced the statistics after analysing data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics, said: “This shows that Warwickshire continues to be a fertile ground for entrepreneurs and new business ventures.
“Although a successful year, there was a fall in the number of new businesses established in 2017, compared to the previous year – 4,617 versus 4,709 in 2016 – which mirrors the national trend.
“This slowdown could be attributed, at least in part, to ongoing political uncertainty and concern in the business community over the impact of Brexit.”
In December there was a small rise in unemployment across the county, with the claimant count rising from 4,320 to 4,380, after a fall the previous month.