East's economic recovery from Covid forecast to last until 2023

Shoppers walk past Vodaphone in Ipswich.

EY's Regional Economic Forecast says the East of England will be one of five English region's to have shown any economic growth by - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The East of England's economy is on track for a slow but steady recovery, according to a new economic forecast.

Ernst & Young's Regional Economic Forecast predicts that the East of England will be one of only five English regions in which the economy will grow by 2023, when compared to 2019 levels.

The forecast growth of 0.08% in the East is the second lowest of the nine regions. Meanwhile London is expected to grow by 0.51%, compared to 2019.

Overall the region's economy is expected to have declined by 12.11% over the course of 2020 — this is inline with the national average.

In the East, cities are expected to grow faster than towns.

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The Gross Value Added (GVA) of cities is expected to rise at an average rate of 0.48% per year until 2023, while towns are only expected to see a growth rate of 0.06% per year.

Cambridge is forecast to recover quickest out of the East's cities, in part because it has weathered the economic impact of Covid-19 better than other cities in the region due to the industries located there.

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Whereas Norwich is likely to be among the cities that take a long time to recover.

Stuart Wilkinson, office managing partner at EY in the East of England, said: "The arts, entertainment and recreation sector, which includes leisure and tourism, is expected to recover slowly in some areas of the region, including in Norwich, which is forecast to see GVA fall short of its 2019 level by the equivalent of a -1.23% annual decline by 2023. This follows a -27.56% decline in 2020."

Outlining what he thought should be done to level the regional playing field in the wake of the pandemic, Mr Wilkinson said: "To accelerate the levelling up agenda, the government’s aim should be to tailor sector opportunities to local conditions.

"These should dictate what is needed for investment in skills, transport, digital and social infrastructure. Once plans are agreed, resources should be released to local control for delivery wherever practical.

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