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To Humberside and Back

Mark Hempshell reports

While Humberside is sometimes considered to be something of a backwater, it has a strong economic base and has been quietly transitioning its economy in recent years. So in this market overview we will look at some of the positive economic and development stories in this part of the east of England.

Background and economy: Humberside, the area flanking the River Humber between Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, hasn’t existed as a single administrative county for some time. Today it is divided up between four local authorities – the City of Kingston upon Hull, the East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire – with the main settlements being Hull, the Grimsby, Immingham and Cleethorpes area, Scunthorpe and the small but economically important town of Goole.

While each local authority in the area now pursues its own economic and development priorities, the entire Humberside area shares a similar economic profile. Many of the old traditional industries here such as shipping, fishing and steelmaking have been in decline for several decades. However, partly as a result of this, low land, labour and infrastructural costs – Invest Humber say the cost of land across the Humber is 30% more competitive than similar UK regions and cities – have made the area increasingly attractive for development and helped to support something of an economic renaissance.

Reflecting the perceived need for regeneration here, the Humber area has the largest total area of Enterprise Zones in the UK, with 30 separate sites covering around 1,200 ha. The previous Government announced that it would consider the creation of new freeports in a post-Brexit UK and Hull, Grimsby and Immingham are all contenders.

Key industries today include manufacturing, engineering, food processing, ports and logistics, chemicals and petrochemicals. Humberside is one of the UK’s four main petrochemical clusters, worth an estimated £6bn to the UK economy, and two oil refineries providing 27% of the UK’s refining capacity.

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