The annual release of sub-regional gross disposable household income (GDHI) data has just occurred. The latest numbers are for 2014. They show SW England generating £98.4bn of GDHI that year, up from £96.9bn in 2013: a modest increase of just 1.5%. (Because CPI inflation was also 1.5% in 2014 that implies there was no real increase in household spending power.) The annual growth range was from +4.1% in Swindon to -0.5% in Bournemouth and Poole.
The distribution of SW GDHI across the region, by LEP area, ranged from £29.8bn (30.3% of the SW total) in the Heart of the South West (HoSW = Devon and Somerset, including Plymouth and Torbay) to under £10bn (9.4%) in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (CIoS). West of England (WoE = Bristol, Bath and NE Somerset, N Somerset and S Gloucestershire) contributed £20.1bn (20.4%) whilst the Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire, and Dorset (including Bournemouth and Poole) areas generated £11.8bn (12%), £13.1bn (13.3%) and £14.3bn (14.6%) respectively.
Turning to GDHI per head, in order to compare these areas better, puts Gloucestershire at the ‘top’ with £19,273 (7.3% above the UK average). CIoS was at the bottom at £16,862 (-6.1% below). HoSW was also below average (£17,579 or -2.1% below). Dorset was second highest (£18,907, +5.3% below), then Swindon and Wiltshire (£18,818 or +4.8% below) and then WoE (£18,273, +1.7% below). Again, in annual growth terms the range was from +3.3% in Swindon to -1.6% in Bournemouth and Poole.
Within these areas, it is striking how relatively ‘low’ the GDHI per head figures are for cities/urban areas and how relatively ‘high’ they are for county/rural areas. For example, Bristol, Plymouth and Torbay all had GDHI per head readings more than £1,000 below the national average whereas Dorset county, Wiltshire County and non-Bristol WoE were all more than £1,000 above average. Even in the more ‘balanced’ areas, such as Dorset and Wiltshire, the ‘county’ parts were above average whereas the urban parts were not. (This is always in marked contrast to the sub-regional gross value added data which usually shows urban areas creating more output per head than rural areas: a reflection of commuting patterns and work/residence differences.
Roughly 70% of SW GDHI and GDHI per head comes from ‘compensation of employees‘. This category grew by 2.9% in 2014, compared with 6.9% for property incomes received.