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MPA highlights economic divide between London and rest of GB

Nigel Jackson

Association says years of policy discussions and initiatives have failed to benefit the rest of Britain

ANALYSIS by the Mineral Products Association (MPA) has highlighted the massive differences in development and construction recovery since the recession between London and the rest of Great Britain. The key difference, says the Association, is not just North compared with South, but London compared with everywhere else.

The MPA collects hard data on sales of mineral products used in construction and other industries. These sales volumes provide a clear indication of the levels of construction and development work under way throughout Great Britain and, therefore, evidence of economic recovery.

Ready-mixed concrete, in particular, is a ubiquitous material used in all sectors of construction and is typically used within eight miles of where it is produced, thereby providing a good indicator of local construction and development activity.

MPA data indicate that comparing pre-recession 2007 and 2016 sales volumes, the London market increased by more than 50%. In every other part of Britain, however, sales volumes in 2016 remained at least 20% below 2007 levels.

The regional sales volumes of ready-mixed concrete in 2016 compared with 2007, as recorded by the MPA, are: 

• North East  –38%
• North West  –43%
• Yorkshire and Humberside  –43%
• East Midlands  –27%
• West Midlands  –20%
• East of England  –33%
• London  +53%
• South East  –22%
• South West  –43%
• Scotland  ¬–23%
• Wales  –54%

The MPA’s chief executive, Nigel Jackson (pictured), commented: ‘These results illustrate a staggering difference in demand between London and the rest of Great Britain. They are not based on survey responses or complex economic indicators. They show actual use of a key construction material required to provide our housing, transport networks, commercial and industrial development, and the wider built environment.

‘We hear a lot of well-meaning talk about the Northern Powerhouse and Industrial Strategy, but our data give an indication of how much more needs to be done to provide the housing and infrastructure needed across most of Great Britain.

‘The sharp increase in ready-mixed concrete demand in London reflects the housing, commercial and infrastructure investment linked to economic growth and population pressures. But while London may be unique as a global city, there is no disguising the reality that years of policy discussions and initiatives have failed to benefit the rest of Britain.

‘Our figures perhaps provide the concrete evidence of this. We need a lot less talk and a lot more action to encourage faster investment.’

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