Milton Keynes’ economy set for sluggish growth according to new report

    Milton Keynes’ economy will return to growth in the second half of 2023 but at a slower rate than other cities in the south, according to a new study by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

    The Irwin Mitchell City Tracker has been produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and examines 50 locations across the UK, forecasting future growth in terms of GVA* and employment.

    The report, which estimates that the UK entered into a recession in the second half of 2022, expects economic growth to resume in the second half of 2023.

    According to the research, Milton Keynes’ economy is predicted to be 0.6% larger in Q4 2023 than it was in the final quarter of 2022. It is also expected to perform relatively poorly in terms of employment, recording just 0.1% growth.

    In comparison, Oxford is expected to increase GVA year-on-year by 0.8% in Q4 2023 with job levels rising by 1.3%. Cambridge is predicted to top the table with annual employment growth of 2.5% in Q4 2023. Cambridge’s GVA growth is however expected to be slightly behind Oxford’s with a 0.7% increase predicted.

    Josie Dent, managing economist at Cebr, said:

    “Milton Keynes has a large retail and transportation and storage industry, which benefited from a surge in online shopping amid the pandemic. However, since lockdown restrictions have been lifted and the cost-of-living crisis has reduced retail demand, the city is expected to show a weaker performance in terms of economic growth.”

    Charlotte Rees-John, partner and head of Irwin Mitchell’s consumer sector, said:

    “Last year presented numerous challenges and the downward pressure on spending activity, which continues to be concentrated in the consumer sector, looks set to continue throughout the first half of 2023.

    “The consumer sector has however been one of the most resilient, agile and innovative sectors in recent times and those businesses that succeed during 2023 will be in a very strong position to take advantage of a more stable economic environment in 2024.”

    She added: “Considering longer-term aspirations, such as the transition to carbon net zero, is something all businesses, irrespective of the sector they are in and the pressures that they are facing, need to do. ESG is fast becoming a priority for the majority, particularly at a time when there is huge pressure and scrutiny from consumers and investors who are increasingly making their decisions based on ethical as well as financial factors.”

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