Growth = wealth? Not for everyone.


Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer will stood at the dispatch box and argued that his plan is the one that will set this country on the path to prosperity for all. He’s not the first. He almost definitely won’t be the last. And yet here we are.

The climate emergency, austerity, growing inequality and political inertia mean that across the UK and beyond, many people and their families are struggling to make ends meet.  These are not new crises. And yet, for decades Chancellors have set out the ways in which they will deregulate, bulldoze, build, cut through regulation and overturn every conceivable stone in the pursuit of growth. Few are bothered about the quality of the economy they are nurturing, merely the upward trajectory. Often the most important question is missed: who benefits?

To get to the bottom of this quandary we looked in depth at the economy of one of regional growth’s success stories, Greater Manchester. Below we present our findings, which take in analysis of the highest growing sectors, how they have contributed to employment in the region and where the profits of the most successful companies are going.

What we’ve uncovered builds a compelling case for local and national governments alike to consider how wealth flows, concentrates and is extracted in our local economies and to use this information to focus growth on the sectors that deliver most for communities.

How can they do that? Read CLES’s paper – This Must be the Place – to learn more.


  • ONS regional gross value added (balanced) by industry (released April 2023). Link. NB: absolute GVA growth in current basic prices = 235%, inflation adjusted GVA growth = 160%
  • GM Poverty Action. Link.
  • Manchester Move. Link.
  • GMCA. Link.
  • ONS Wealth and Assets Survey. (released January 2022). Link
  • Times Rich List (2023). Link.
  • ONS Business Register and Employment Survey (2022). Link.
  • Growth Flag and Red Flag Alert databases (2023). Link.
  • ONS regional gross value added (balanced) per head and income components (released April 2023). Link.