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27 April, 2021 - 23:55 By Tony Quested

Cambridge to lead UK’s economic bounceback

New research indicates that Cambridge, the science & technology capital of Britain, will lead the UK’s bounceback from Covid. The cluster is said to have the fastest employment rate in the whole of the nation.

The latest UK Powerhouse report from Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) reveals that Cambridge had a strong end to 2020 with a 2.9 per cent increase in jobs.

The report says this level of employment growth will continue in the 12 months to Q4 2021, adding 4,300 new jobs and putting Cambridge in the top position in the country.

It adds that Cambridge’s dominant tech innovation, life sciences and research sectors – which have all seen a rise in funding amid the coronavirus pandemic – has been a driving force for the local economy.

Cambridge is also ranked 6th out of the top 50 cities surveyed for GVA with a 7.3 per cent growth during 2021. Compared to the end of 2020, Cambridge’s economy will be £1.3 billion larger by Q4 2021.

Only 36 per cent of cities researched by the report are expected to increase employment levels in Q4.

UK Powerhouse makes a number of recommendations to tackle the difficulties business will face coming out of lockdown. These include the need to take advantage of policies to encourage investment and improve skills and local government having bespoke plans in place to support job creation heading out of the Covid-19 crisis, when the furlough scheme ends. 

Neil Whiteley, partner and head of Irwin Mitchell’s Cambridge office, said: “Similar to all other towns and cities in the report, Cambridge suffered a contraction in the size of its economy during 2020. 

“It recovered very strongly and by the end of 2021 it is expected to be in the top 10 for GVA growth and in first place for job creation.

“Cambridge cannot afford to be complacent though. With the impact of the end of the furlough scheme expected to have a negative impact on employment, it is clear that local plans for job creation to replace those lost in the downturn need to be in place before October.

“It is also clear that a resolution to some of the outstanding issues surrounding Brexit can only have a positive impact on the future outlook. Supporting those SMEs in the region who export to the EU will not only enhance the economic output, but can also make a positive contribution to the local jobs market.” 

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