Business

NI now the fourth most prosperous region in the UK

Average earnings in Northern Ireland have increased by 3.6 per cent over the year to £24,601 per year
Gareth McKeown

NORTHERN Ireland is the fourth most prosperous region in the UK according to new rankings published by Barclays.

The third edition of UK Prosperity Map from Barclays Wealth & Investments shows that the north has climbed one place since last year's figures, with average earnings seeing the second-highest increase of any region at 3.6 per cent (£24,601 per year), second only to the west midlands.

There has also been an increase in the number of local millionaires, rising by 1,000 (8.7 per cent) on the previous year to 12,500. Northern Ireland's overall share of the UK total millionaire population now stands at 2 per cent.

The UK Prosperity Map uses factors including numbers of millionaires, average earnings, business growth rates, house prices, household expenditure and GDP per capita to generate a unique ‘Prosperity Index Score' for each UK region and city.

It also considers educational attainment, an area Northern Ireland continuously excels in and this year topped the rankings with 69.7 per cent of those taking GCSEs achieving five or more A*-C grades (including Maths and English).

Household expenditure in Northern Ireland has increased by 3.8 per cent over the year to £503 according to the research, surpassed by only London (5.9%), eastern England, Yorkshire and the Humber and the east midlands.

Local house prices have also seen 5 per cent growth reaching an average of £125,507. The north though continues to rank second from bottom in the UK on average house price.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's business birth-to-death ratio (the number of new businesses for every business ‘death') is 1.37, climbing three places in the rankings year-on-year.

Private banker at Barclays Northern Ireland Jonny Sloan said the Prosperity Map paints a positive picture for Northern Ireland.

"A recent influx of foreign direct investment appears to be driving earnings growth which is helping to drive employment, and this, combined with our strong educational achievements and quality of life, accounts for our boost in prosperity over the last calendar year.

“That said, we still have a long way to go. Northern Ireland comes from a lower base of wealth than other regions, and if our economy is to continue to rebalance and realign with more affluent regions, we need to see increased business investment and growth in exports.”

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