Find out why Peterborough is forecast to be a powerhouse of the UK’s recovery after lockdown

Peterborough’s economic recovery after lockdown is likely to be one of the fastest among UK cites, according to a new report.

By Paul Grinnell
Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 5:10 am
John Lewis at Queensgate EMN-210324-141206009
John Lewis at Queensgate EMN-210324-141206009

The UK Powerhouse study also finds that the much lamented closure of department store John Lewis at the Queensgate shopping centre will not have as much impact on the city as feared.

It also praises the city’s move ahead with its planned £30 million university, which it says will be vital to powering investment and skills necessary for future growth.

But while the city is forecast to make a rapid turnaround in terms of productivity, the survey warns any improvements in its jobs market will be sluggish.

Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough at the site of the new university at Bishop's Road. EMN-211203-183203009

According to the report from legal and financial services provider Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) Peterborough will see its GVA - the economic contribution to the national economy - grow year-on-year by 7.4 per cent by the end of this year, making it one of the UK’s best performing economies.

The city’s GVA will stand at £6,400 million.

The only better rates of improvement will come from Milton Keynes - 7.5 per cent (£13,800 million), Warrington - 7.7 per cent (£7,200 million) and Solihull - 7.7 per cent (£9,500 million).

However, while unemployment is expected to fall in Peterborough, it will be at a slower rate than last year.

The report predicts that total head count across the city will be 500 people lower in the last quarter of this year than the last three months of 2020.

Vicky Brackett, Head of Irwin Mitchell’s Business Legal Services division, said: “Peterborough has big plans for expansion in the next few years and this report suggests the city is on track to see output increase by the end of 2021 and be among the UK’s fastest growing cities.

“Retail has had a tough 12 months and while the plans and a proposed new multi-screen cinema have not been enough to save the Queensgate John Lewis, the expectation is, this will not dent output as much as might have been expected, although employment will lag behind.

She said: “The report makes it clear that cities must have plans to boost investment and skills and with the Bishop’s Road located university due to open its doors to students in 2022, with its major focus on education, Peterborough looks to have this covered.

She added: “If the government plays its part in smoothing trade relations with the EU, then the city and the region have much to look forward to.

“The East of England is home to large life sciences and advanced manufacturing sectors and these are responsible for a significant amount of exports to the EU.

“No one will want to see this put at risk as Peterborough and the wider region look to build back better in the years ahead.”

The new study comes just days after the Centre for Cities published a report stating Peterborough would be among the UK’s top performers as recovery starts with the number of jobs vacancies bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels.