Progress and ambitions
Our original Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) detailed our ambitions to drive rapid, sustainable growth in Stoke-on-Trent and develop the peri-urban areas along the County’s key transport corridors.
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire economy has experienced strong growth over the last five years (+6%), complemented by strong employment growth, with our area having a higher rate of growth than nationally
Our core advanced manufacturing sectors have performed well and we have maintained our unique specialisms in Energy Generation, Auto-Aero, Medical Technologies, Agri-Tech and Applied Materials. Strong employment growth has been recorded in our Medical Technologies and Auto-Aero sectors and our Applied Materials sector is one of the most specialised in the whole country.
We are fortunate to have been involved in two Enterprise Zones, Ceramic Valley and i54, which have enabled us to provide a blend of geographical and sectoral offers. The designation of these zones allows the local area to retain 100% of the business rates which are then reinvested to unlock growth.
Since we produced our SEP, the economy of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has changed significantly. It was written at a time when the local and national economies were still feeling the effects of the economic downturn and the number of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire residents who were unemployed remained very high. Since then we have been very successful in generating a large number of jobs, increasing earnings and reducing unemployment to the point where we have been close to or at full employment for some time.
However, whilst productivity has been increasing in terms of overall levels of Gross Value Added (GVA), relative levels of GVA continue to lag behind other parts of the country and improving this situation is a key aim of our SEP, given that economic prosperity is fundamental our local economy and to the quality of life of our residents. A vibrant and diverse economy, offering high-value, high-wage job opportunities and future prospects not only provides a more dynamic business environment but also puts more money in the pockets of our residents, so that they and their families can live the lives they want.
Our previous SEP outlined our ambition to grow our economy by 50% and generate 50,000 new jobs over a 10 year period. The strong growth in the number of jobs in the area means that we are easily on track to develop 50,000 new jobs by 2024. However, generating jobs to enable the previously large unemployed cohort of our residents to get work has meant that the types of jobs created have not yet enabled us to achieve our aim of growing our economy by 50%.
We recognise that increasing productivity and supporting the creation of a greater proportion of high-value, high-wage job opportunities, whilst ensuring our residents are able to take advantage of these opportunities, will be vital to the development of our economy over the coming years. Our previous ambition of 50:50:10 therefore remains a challenging target that we will continue to work towards.
Growth since 2011
8% employment growth
6% GVA growth
13% growth in private sector employment
2% decline in public sector employment
35,000 jobs created
4,700 new businesses created
12% business growth (compared to 20% nationally)
8,700 new homes completed
19% increase in population educated to degree level