The engineering sector in the North East of England has surpassed London for growth over the past year, buoyed by the strength of the region’s automotive and rail sectors, according to accountancy firm Nixon Williams.
Research by the company showed that between 2014 and 2015, the number of engineering businesses in the North East jumped by 17.6%, from 595 to 700. This compared to a 5% increase in engineering businesses across the UK as a whole, from 20,490 to 21,510 enterprises. The number of engineering businesses in London jumped by 11.8% over the past year, from 1,985 to 2,220.
The North West was the third fastest growing region for engineering businesses, increasing by 9% between 2014 and 2015, from 1,895 to 2,065. Nixon Williams said this was due to the ongoing decommissioning of Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria (North West), which was one of the largest engineering mega-projects outside London.
Nixon Williams said that its analysis showed that despite the recovery in the engineering sector in most regions over the last few years, the number of engineering enterprises in the UK was still 11% below its 2009 peak of 24,220.
Nixon Williams practice manager Victoria Kelly said: “The engineering sector is rebounding strongly, but that recovery is very unevenly distributed. At least three regions – Wales, the West Midlands and the South West – are still seeing a contraction in the number of engineering businesses. At the other end of the scale you have the North East and London well into double digit growth.
“At the current rate of growth it will be another three years before the total stock of engineering businesses exceeds the 2009 peak.”
She said that London had led the pack in recent years, and had been buoyed by Crossrail, which had fuelled engineering start-ups in the capital, but now the North East was on the rise.