Regions to carry scars of pandemic

Four of England’s regions will still bear the scars of coronavirus in three years’ time, remaining economically smaller than their pre-pandemic levels, according to a forecast by EY.

Philip Aldrick 

The Big Four accountant warned of a “lopsided recovery”, with London and the South East rebounding faster than the regions that the government wants to help with its levelling-up agenda.

The projections should be a call to arms to deliver “investment in skills, transport, digital and social infrastructure” where it is needed most, EY said.

In 2023, the economies of Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East, the West Midlands and the South West will all be smaller than they were in 2019. Any recovery will be mainly in the cities, with towns set to lag behind. Owl’s emphasis.

City economies in six non-London regions are expected to grow between 2019 and 2023 but only three town economies will be larger. Only London and the South East will see employment above 2019 levels by 2023.

Rohan Malik, managing partner at EY UK and Ireland, said: “The economy faces a lopsided recovery which risks setting back the levelling-up agenda unless concerted action is taken.

“Manufacturing, arts and leisure, and hospitality — vital parts of the economies in towns, the Midlands and the North — have been most affected during the pandemic or are likely to take longer to recover.”

London, the South East and the North West have borne the least economic pain this year, shrinking 10.4 per cent, 11.4 per cent and 11.8 per cent, respectively. Other regions have contracted by more than 12 per cent.