People in Swindon almost £10,000 worse off due to UK’s poor economic growth

By Jamie Hill - 9 February 2024


People in Swindon are almost £10,000 worse off because of poor economic growth since 2010, new analysis shows.

The Centre for Cities think tank found the average person in the UK missed out on £10,200 in disposable income since 2010 when compared with predictions based on 1998-2010 economic trends.

Experts said the whole country, including places that were doing relatively well before, have been levelled down because of the lack of growth”.

The analysis shows people in Swindon have been left with £9,210 less in disposable income. This was slightly more than the the South West average of £9,010.

Disposable income is the money a person is left with after paying bills, taxes and covering for the cost of living.

The think tank used primary urban areas in its analysis, which is a measure of the built-up area of a city, rather than individual local authorities. These are used to provide a consistent measure to compare concentrations of economic activity across the UK.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of the Centre for Cities, said: “Both the two main political parties have pledged to grow the economy and the general election debate will have growth at its heart.

“The challenge for the next Government is to go beyond the rhetoric and to do what’s needed to make this rhetoric a reality.

The analysis revealed 4.6 million new jobs were created across the country between 2010 and 2022 – considerably more than the 2.5 million between 1998 and 2010.

However, productivity slowed during the same period. It increased by an annual average of 0.6% in the period 2010-2021, while this was 1.5% in pre-2010.

Mr Carter said the next Government must recognise “the British economy is an urban economy”.

He added: “Cities account for 9% of the land and over 60% of the economy, as well as 72% of high skilled jobs. Their slowdown is at the heart of why the national economy is struggling.”

In Swindon, there was a 3.6% growth in jobs, but the average productivity growth rate remained roughly the same.

Dr George Dibb, head of the Centre for Economic Justice at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said: “Poor wage growth over the last decade or so is a damning indictment of a stagnant economy with no direction.

“Instead of spending the past 14 years investing in good green jobs of the future, we have bounced from one plan to another with 11 different economic strategies, nine business secretaries and seven chancellors.

“We need a serious and consistent strategy to return to a high growth and high productivity economy.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to levelling-up every corner of the UK, investing billions to support community regeneration projects, connecting 25.7 million premises with gigabit broadband, and over 50% of England is now covered by a devolution deal.

“We have halved the number of people on low pay with increases in the national living wage, and thanks to an above-inflation increase to tax allowances, we have also saved the average earner over £1,000 a year since 2010.

“We did so after two massive global shocks – Covid and Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine – which affected every economy worldwide. And yet, the UK has grown faster than Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Japan.”

Your Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Login or Register to post a comment on this article

Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ