Ipswich joint fifth for best performing city economies

Discussion in 'Local Politics' started by dan5, Oct 23, 2017.

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  1. dan5

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

    You might be happy to hear Ipswich is performing well on news of Ipswich being 5th in the country for growth of 2% but should we celebrate? At #22 for employment of 0.6% growth is worrying (relative to GVA growth). Technology also accounts for just 5% of the city GVA. You can read the full report here.

    Wait. Hang on a minute! Ipswich isn't a city. If we look at vacant office and retail units in the town you could be mistaken that the town is doing pretty badly. Maybe not as bad as elsewhere but struggling. Unless I am completely mistaken (which would be really embarrassing) it means the same boundary pretty much as the Greater Ipswich "City" Deal - also referred to as the Ipswich Functional Economic Area in the Local Plan.

    This isn't limited to the borough or the Pinewood, the Kesgrave and Martlesham Heath, but the entire Babergh, Mid Suffolk and Suffolk Coastal district areas as well as the borough of Ipswich. So it covers the majority of the county pretty much but not Bury St Edmunds or Lowestoft areas. So naturally in addition to the town of Ipswich, we are talking Felixstowe, Adastral Park in Martlesham, Stowmarket and the Suffolk Coast tourism industry.

    So with the weak pound we can expect a tourism boost for the economy... but a significant trend has been businesses relocating away from the borough, namely due to transport infrastructure problems. I am sure the picture this time next year might be more bleak for Suffolk, unfortunately such figures don't apply solely for the borough of Ipswich.

    The employment side is pretty disappointing, there has been growth in (low paid) jobs for Ipswich but even if we didn't consider salary 0.6% isn't going to support all the planning housing schemes.... briefly, northern fringe, adastral park housing, grafton way site and waterfront area. With the increase in supermarkets and retail parks, along with service industries this is boosting the GVA but the massive problem for Ipswich (the borough specifically but not solely) is the wealth exported out of the economy by multiples. This relates to businesses doing well financially, staff not seeing wage increases (or in some cases a fair wage) and lack of investment in the area. In return we aren't seeing businesses flooding into Princes Street office corridor or the enterprise zones.

    The university isn't doing the borough of Ipswich any favours. Unfortunately, without a wider unitary authority - and joined up thinking, Ipswich is now leeching off the surrounding areas to boost its performance figures; which is ironic as it is these towns in the area that were leeching off Ipswich's success initially. The local economy currently working in a push-pull configuration. Infrastructure, employment and housing are going to be problems. We can only hope for SnOasis :D

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