New research placing Wolverhampton in the top 10 of the fastest-growing areas of the UK has been welcomed by the leader of the city council. Councillor Roger Lawrence was reacting to the UHY Hacker Young study which ranks the city as eighth for gross value added (GVA) - the value of goods and services it produces - between 2009 and 2013.
Wolverhampton’s GVA per person is up 19% from £16,474 to £19,548 and is a positive reflection of the huge efforts Wolverhampton City Council and its partners are making to drive a strong manufacturing base alongside investment in education and skills as part of its wider regeneration plans.
Councillor Lawrence said: “Attracting Jaguar Land Rover to i54 has clearly played a major part in these uplifting figures, as has Wolverhampton’s strong aerospace industry.
“The council continues to look for new partners to further boost the local economy, such as online cycling store Wiggle, which is set to open its distribution centre in Bilston’s Citadel building in October, creating around 150 jobs, while we are also creating the right conditions to attract new businesses to the city, for instance by creating grade A office space at i10 and progressing with our ambitious plans for Wolverhampton’s new transport interchange.
“Plans for the multi-million West Midlands Construction University Technical College on the former Springfield Brewery site and construction of the £18million Business School at the University of Wolverhampton’s Molineux Campus also illustrate the determination to improve education and skills in the area.
“And, with housing projects such as Thompson Avenue and Bilston Urban Village underway, there is no doubt the Wolverhampton economy is on the up.”
All of the UK’s top five fastest-growing economies can be found in the Midlands, where engineering and advanced manufacturing is powering a revival.
Malcolm Winston, partner at UHY Hacker Young in Birmingham, added: “It’s been a difficult decade for some parts of the Midlands, but these figures show that the region’s advanced manufacturing base is once again a huge growth driver.
"From Rolls-Royce aircraft engines to the latest Jaguar and Land Rover models, demand for advanced products manufactured in the Midlands has ensured that the region’s economy has bounced back strongly from the recession.
"One of the benefits of a strong manufacturing base is that it the employment created cascades down the supply chain too – a huge number of businesses in the Midlands have businesses like Rolls-Royce, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover as major customers.”
"The need for skilled workers has also driven investment in education and skills and created a real advanced manufacturing cluster, which makes the area even more attractive to businesses."