Happy Financial Fools Day!

As part of it’s Recession Britain season, the Financial Times has offered a very somber analysis of Leeds current economic status:

Leeds’ strengths turn to weaknesses:

Leeds ducked the last recession. It has been hit head-on by this one. Its mix of banks, building societies, law firms and manufacturers enabled it to survive the early 1990s relatively unscathed. In the midst of the credit crunch those are precisely the areas being squeezed.

A recent report by Deloitte, the professional services firm, for a regional taskforce set up by Yorkshire Forward, makes grim reading.

Without government intervention, it expects a 10 per cent contraction in the region’s financial services industry. This driver of the city’s growth would take a decade to recover, it said. But if it can be helped to hang on it should benefit from the upturn…

The city of 750,000 is home to telephone banks such as First Direct and building societies such as Leeds Building Society, as well as retail banks such as Yorkshire. It created 67,800 jobs between 1996 and 2006, more than any other big city, swelling the workforce by a fifth.

But it is now shedding jobs faster than anywhere except Bristol and Cardiff, with unemployment rising by half in the last year…

Leeds is less dependent on the public sector than many northern cities. That might have to change as private sector activity shrinks. Leeds City Council is to begin building new council houses after a break of more than 20 years, aiming to put up 80 properties. It is also funding a concert arena. The universities are continuing big building programmes.

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Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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