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Wales is getting wealthier and Cardiff is booming, finds a major new report

The following article has been extracted from Wales Online:

Wales is becoming more prosperous nation, a major report finds today.

Rising incomes and growing business turnover have helped push Wales up the UK’s table of relative prosperity by one place.

However Wales is still only third from bottom of the UK’s nations and regions in the Barclays Wealth Prosperity Map, 10th out of 12.

The report highlights Cardiff as one of the UK’s fastest growing cities.

It said Wales’ capital was now the sixth most prosperous city in the UK.

The findings are based on stats for population, pay, wealth, unemployment and business turnover and startups.

The key findings for Wales

  • A 3% rise in average household wealth over the past year to £214,200 per household
  • Small and medium size business turnover up 2%
  • A 3% rise in average earnings, with the average person in Wales now earning £23,304 a year
  • Unemployment also fell by 0.8%.

Those successes pushed Wales above Yorkshire and Humber but only to 10th on Barclays table of UK nations and regions

Here’s the table

  1. London
  2. South East
  3. Eastern England
  4. South West
  5. Northern Ireland (up one place)
  6. East Midlands (down one place)
  7. Scotland (up three places)
  8. North West
  9. West Midlands (down two places)
  10. Wales (up one place)
  11. Yorkshire and Humber (down two places)
  12. North East

Cardiff is booming

This picture of Cardiff Bay was taken on Bank Holiday Monday by @NPAS_StAthan
This picture of Cardiff Bay was taken on Bank Holiday Monday by @NPAS_StAthan

According to the report Cardiff is now the sixth most prosperous UK city, per person.

The key stats are:

  • A 12% rise in turnover for small and medium-size businesses
  • GDP per capital up 9.7%
  • a 10% rise in the number of businesses founded

Here’s Barclays’ table of prosperous cities:


City prosperity table

The UK improvement in wealth and prosperity comes despite uncertain economic conditions during the year caused by volatile stock markets, China’s slowdown and the lead up to Brexit.

The research uses factors including numbers of millionaires, average annual pay, the percentage of households giving to charity, business growth rates and exam scores to generate a unique ‘prosperity index score’ for each nation and region.

Wales has few millionaires

Dave and Angela Dawes son £101m on the lottery
Dave and Angela Dawes son £101m on the lottery

 The number of millionaires in Wales was unchanged at 12,000, making up 1.7% of the UK total of 690,000 .

Not surprisingly, London had 186,000, representing 26.9% of the UK millionaire total.

Even without London and the South East, the rest of the UK has shown an increase of 85,000 additional millionaires, up by 31% since 2010.

Small firms are thriving


Construction businesses featured strongly in this year’s Wales Fast Growth 50 list

Wales also continues to host a thriving SME scene which has played an important part in its improved prosperity.

The number of new business businesses grew by 0.2% to 11,345 businesses last year. SMEs in Wales have expanded their turnover by 2% compared with last year.

In Cardiff, growth is outpacing London, with SME turnover rising year-on-year by 12% in comparison to 7% in London, and making it the city with the third fastest growth rate in the study, behind Bournemouth and Manchester.

GDP per capita grew by 9.7% in the past year, growing at a faster pace than in London, which grew by 8%.

In the rest of the UK, every region has become more prosperous than last year, with uplifts in household wealth, GDP, household expenditure and or earnings, and a decrease in unemployment.

Barclays says the figures are ‘encouraging’

Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Eileen Cronin, regional Director, Wales region, Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, said: “It is very encouraging to see that prosperity in Wales is on an upwards trajectory, with the region’s entrepreneurial workforce playing a vital part in supporting our growth.

“The fact that Cardiff’s SMEs are now growing at the same rate as those in London demonstrates that we are on course to compete with the capital when it comes to providing the right conditions to start and grow a successful business and drive prosperity more widely.

“We can feel confident that these signs of development show that not only is Wales still ‘open for business’, but that we also have a really important role to play in the prosperity of the UK as a whole.”

Prof Dylan Jones-Evans says there’s more work to be done


Dylan Jones Evans at the Senedd Building

Enterprise academic Professor Dylan Jones-Evans said the rise of one position for Wales and the strong performance of Cardiff in the city analysis, was encouraging.

He added: “However, it will need all our cities, with Swansea and Newport alongside Cardiff, firing on all cylinders it we are to significantly improve the economic competitive against the UK average.

“Although on the key GVA per head measure Wales has been one of the best performing economies outside of the south-east of England in recent years, things can be better.

“Cardiff, can and is raising the bar, “There are fantastic established businesses in the city, such a IQE in technology, Admiral in financial services and family-owned brewing and hospitality firm SA Brain & Co which recently received an outstanding achievement awards at the Cardiff Business Awards.”

Prof Jones said that for start-up firms, despite the fact that many will fail – which is also the case globally – it was important not just in Cardiff, but the whole of Wales, to create the right environment for them to flourish.

He said this included easy access to affordable and long-term growth funding and the backing of mentors who ‘have been there and done it’.

Prof Jones-Evans added: “It is about creating a differentiator from Scotland and the regions of England, and this is where the establishment of a Development Bank for Wales, which works with and not against the private sector, could have a significant impact.

“In Newport – which benefits from being 15 minutes close to London than Cardiff – there is an exciting wave of new digital and tech start-ups, including those coming out of the Alacrity Foundation graduate entrepreneurship programme.

“And the proposed technology focused City Deal for the Swansea Bay City Region, has the potential to be an economic game changer not just for the region, but the whole of Wales.

“And in North Wales too it is important to maximise the economic potential of closer ties with the Northern Powerhouse initiative.”

What data the index uses:

  • Median household wealth
  • GDP per capita
  • Unemployment rates
  • Average weekly household expenditure
  • Business birth rate to death rates
  • Households giving to charity
  • Mean gross annual pay
  • Mean number of paid hours per week
  • Business insolvency rates
  • Mean number of paid hours per week
  • Proportion of pupils with A* to C GSCE grades

As these factors all have different units of measurement, the data is indexed to give a consistent measure of the regions’ performance across the different attributes.

An overall index for each region is then calculated by summing all the measures, and the index scores are given an appropriate negative or positive weighting. The final step involves giving the scores a range of performance.

This is calculated by summing all of the largest scores on each measure to give the highest score possible and then summing all of the lowest scores on each measure to give the lowest score possible.

Source: Click here

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