Leeds City Region and the Northern Powerhouse

Leeds City Region is the undisputed leader within the Northern Powerhouse, with the largest regional economy and nationally and internationally significant presences in key industries.

As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the North has a long and rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship. The Northern Powerhouse brings together the towns and cities of the North of England and Wales to unleash their economic potential.

Comprising 15 million people, one million private sector businesses, 28 universities, producing over a quarter of the UK’s total manufacturing output and nearly a third of the UK’s total renewable electricity, if the Northern Powerhouse were a country, it would be amongst the biggest economies in Europe.

The Northern Powerhouse region is seeing significant investment from central government in transport and infrastructure, to improve connections between and within the North’s towns and cities, as well as in education and training to improve skills.

Leeds City Region

Leeds City Region is the undisputed leader within the Northern Powerhouse. With a local economy worth £69 billion, a workforce of 1.4 million people and over 7 million within an hour’s drive, it is the largest contributor to UK GDP in the Northern Powerhouse.

Area Total GVA 2017 (£ million)
Greater London Authority 431,164
Leeds City Region 69,622
Greater Manchester CA 66,413
Liverpool City Regions CA 32,030
Sheffield City Region 25,991

Source: Office for National Statistics

The Northern Powerhouse’s leading business hub

Leeds City Region has significant strengths key sectors including in healthcare and life sciences, digital technologies, advanced manufacturing and financial and professional services.

Leeds City Region is the UK’s second centre for banking, employing 25,000 people – more than Greater Manchester (13,000) and Greater Birmingham (14,000) – and the largest centre for legal services outside London.

It is also home to a flourishing digital creative sector, with 20 of the fastest-growing tech companies in the North of England, according to Northern Tech 100, and 13 of the Prolific North's Top 50 PR Agencies.

Leeds City Region is able to accommodate businesses of all sizes. At 845,000 sq ft, the Leeds office sector has the largest volume of office floorspace under construction in the history of the Leeds Crane Survey, published by Deloitte. According to property consultants Colliers, office costs are 50% lower than the City of London for Grade A headline rent per square foot.

Leeds City Region is a growing, dynamic place for new companies. The Barclays SME Growth Factors Index 2017 named Bradford is the best city in the UK to start a business, while Rightmove has named Leeds as the best English city to set up a business in a co-working space, and the city has the highest concentration of scale-ups outside of London.

Infrastructure and connectivity

Leeds City Region is a central UK transport hub, well connected by road, rail, air and sea. London is two hours away by rail and under on hour by air, with hourly direct trains also to Edinburgh.

Leeds station is one of the busiest in the Northern Powerhouse, welcoming over 31 million passengers in 2017/18. The station is undergoing a £161 million multi-year redevelopment to increase capacity, with a new roof and improved roadside, new platform and alterations to platforms, tracks and signalling.

Some of the country’s highest-capacity strategic motorways and arterial roads also converge in Leeds City Region. Linking Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull, the M62 connects the Northern Powerhouse from west to east, while the M1 and A1(M) between London, Newcastle and Edinburgh runs just a few miles outside of Leeds city centre.

A force in education

Leeds City Region is an internationally renowned education centre offering direct access to an annual talent pipeline of 38,800 graduates, including 15,000 STEM graduates each year – more than any other area in the Northern Powerhouse.

The City Region is home to two world-class business schools, nine universities, 14 higher education colleges and one of Europe’s largest teaching hospitals. The University of Leeds was named The Times’ University of the Year 2017.

There is significant investment in our educational facilities to ensure that Leeds City Region has the skilled workforce that current and future employers will require.

The University of Leeds is making over £500 million of investment across its campus, including a £40 million investment in Nexus to accelerate the growth of tech-led businesses.

The University of Huddersfield is undertaking £260 million of expansion and improvements. Leeds Becket University is investing £80 million in a cutting edge creative arts building.