Recent press reports and the pronouncements of some politicians over the last few months seem to suggest that it is now not just London, but several locations around the country, that are feeling the benefit of an economic recovery. So in this report we will head up to Leeds and Bradford and look at the investment market there.
First a little background: The wider Leeds district has a population of around 750,000 and the Bradford district a population of around 522,000. They both make up the 3m-strong Leeds City Region - an area encompassing all of West Yorkshire and some of North and South Yorkshire. Leeds is the largest regional economy by far, and it's probably fair to say that a high proportion of major regional development and employment opportunities gravitate towards the City of Leeds itself.
According to Locate in Leeds, the local inward investment agency, the value of the city's economy is estimated at £15.9bn. They add that it is well placed to enjoy a private sector-led recovery and is projected to grow by over a quarter in the next ten years. In the latest 'Cities Outlook', published recently by the Centre For Cities, Leeds ranked highly (ninth out of the top ten cities in the UK) as a centre for private sector job growth during 2010-12, while Bradford was rated 57th out of 63 cities. Nevertheless, Bradford has the third largest economy in Yorkshire after Leeds and Sheffield. The 2011 census showed that the Bradford district had the largest growth in population over the preceding decade of any area in Yorkshire and Humberside by far at 11% (Leeds 5%).
Certainly the local economies here do seem to be on the move to some extent.