Leeds to lag behind South after Brexit, Irwin Mitchell and Cebr predict

Towns and cities in the South stand to enjoy double the growth of Leeds following Brexit, according to a joint Irwin Mitchell and Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) study.

The UK Powerhouse study predicts that annual gross value added growth for Leeds will be 1.1% in Q4 2020, whereas Milton Keynes, Reading and Oxford will be at around 2%.

Milton Keynes, Reading and Oxford will be in the top three for economic growth, according to the Irwin Mitchell and Cebr study, with no locations in the North in the top 10.

The study assumes that an amended version of the Brexit withdrawal agreement will form the basis of the future UK-EU relationship, and that a transitional arrangement will be put in place that allows a continuation of the current relationship without any major disruptions until at least 2021.

There was better news in terms of employment for Leeds, with the city appearing in the top five for job creation.

Irwin Mitchell and Cebr’s study predicts that the Leeds employment level will stand at 487,800 jobs in Q4 2020, with year-over-year growth of 2%.

For comparison, the remaining towns and cities in the top five are Exeter (120,300; 2.3%), Oxford (143,700; 1.7%), Stoke (118,300; 1.7%) and Outer London (1,895,300; 1.6%).

Paddy Sturman, a partner and head of business legal services at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds, said: “This report paints a mixed picture for Leeds. On one hand it shows that the growth in the Southeast continues to outpace the North, whilst on the other it points to the huge potential that the city has in terms of job creation.”

“Brexit has and will continue to take up a lot of government time, but it is vital that it refocuses its attention on rebalancing the UK economy and building on the potential within the Northern Powerhouse.”