Financial exports growing fastest in UK regions

Growth in the UK's international finance industry has been greater in several national regions over the past five years than it has been in London, according to a new report.

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The report from private-sector membership body and industry advocacy group TheCityUK finds that between 2012 and 2016, Scottish and Welsh industry exports underwent the largest expansion, showing average annual growth of seven per cent, compared to two per annual growth in London, albeit from a much larger base figure.

Financial exports growing fastest in UK regions

North East England and the West Midlands also recorded sizeable growth across this period, with industry exports increasing by an average of six and five per cent each year respectively."For international context, in 2017 the North West’s financial services exports were equivalent to nearly 40 per cent of the total financial services exports of France," said TheCityUK. "Greater Manchester’s financial services exports alone are now roughly equivalent to the total financial services exports of Austria."The report added that in terms of absolute exports, the South East (£10.8bn) was the region with the largest exports after London (£50bn), followed by Scotland (£7.2bn) and the North West (£5.9bn).In 2016, according to the financial services were the largest exporting services sector in all British regions and nations except the South East, where real estate, professional, scientific and technical services took the top spot.

Financial sector 'valuable beyond London'

Taken together, financial and related professional services exports as a percentage of total regional services exports ranged from 27 per cent in the South East to 50 per cent in Wales.Anjalika Bardalai, chief economist and head of research at TheCityUK, commented: "There is a common misconception that financial and related professional services are only of value to the City of London."This report helps to debunk this myth, showing clearly that the industry, including international finance, is a UK-wide success story. London and the regions and nations all play a role in making the UK a world-leading international financial centre.“The industry’s multi-billion pound exports from areas such as Eastern Scotland, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands contributed to a financial and related professional services trade surplus of around £75 billion in 2017."In most of the UK’s regions and nations, this industry is the largest services exporter and a significant local source of jobs and economic output.”
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