Concrete evidence that economic recovery has by-passed most of the UK beyond London

Posted On: 
27th October 2016

New analysis from the Mineral Products Association provides hard evidence that the economic recovery from the 2008/9 recession has had too little impact beyond London and largely by-passed the rest of Britain.

MPA highlights the unbalanced growth across Great Britain since the 2008/9 recession by using ready – mixed concrete sales volumes as a proxy for construction, which in turn reflects regional development and growth. Ready – mixed concrete is a ubiquitous material used in all types of construction and therefore provides a good indicator of actual construction and development activity. MPA data, based on sales records from over 700 production sites across Great Britain, show that while the London market is now 45% higher than pre-recession, in every other Region sales volumes remain at least 20% lower (see chart at the end of this release), illustrating the extent to which recovery has been skewed towards London. 

Jerry McLaughlin, Director of Economics and Public Policy at the MPA said:
“The MPA data highlights the need for more balanced development and growth across the country. In the Autumn Statement on 23 November, the Chancellor will set out how government plans to respond to the economic challenges created by the EU Referendum vote and wider global economic concerns.

It is clear from the experience of recent years that there has to be a more balanced regional distribution of the benefits of growth than we have seen since 2009. Policies in the Autumn Statement and notably the implementation of Government’s Industrial Strategy must reflect this. Clearly there are wider social and political issues arising from the disparity between London and the rest of the country and there needs to be evidence that initiatives such as elected Mayors and Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Midlands Engine and the Northern Powerhouse have sufficient powers and resources to make a real difference. A more strategic approach is needed to avoid further fragmentation and confusion about where power actually lies in the Regions and to encourage business investment. A good start might be to recognise that.”

The use of mineral products such as concrete in construction creates economic benefits through, for example, new transport and energy infrastructure, offices and factories and social and environmental benefits arising from new housing, hospitals, schools, urban-regeneration and cleaner water. The Mineral Products industry operates across the UK with significant activities throughout Great Britain. The chart below indicates the changes in Regional sales of ready-mixed concrete between 2007 and the year to Q2 2016.