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News - 22 October 2005
Divided picture of UK economic growth.
A recent OECD report has demonstrated that, not only is economic growth widely variable across the UK, but on the whole it is also half a percent below the rest of the EU. The list of winners and losers adds to the sharp divide between north and south.
UK growth in the five years between 1997 and 2002 was 3% compared to 3.5% in the rest of the EU and the variation between areas was far greater than any other region in the Union. Ironically the UK has the region with both the strongest growth (Berkshire at 8%) and the weakest (East & North Ayrshire and Cumbria). Only Portugal and Czech Republic had similar boom and recession regions in the same country.
The south east generally shows positive growth figures with Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey all showing growth rates of over 5%. The south coast is a less positive picture but it has bright spots like Brighton & Hove and Bournemouth and Poole.
Meanwhile figures released yesterday confirm that the economy is on course for its weakest performance since 1992. The ONS reported that the economy grew by just 0.4% in the third quarter compared to 0.5% in the previous quarter largely due to the problems of energy production as output of North Sea oil and gas declines. The economy will have to increase its growth rate to 1.8% in the final quarter to reach 2% growth this year.
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