Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

Recovery of UK regions under spotlight

Academics from Alliance MBS have conducted research comparing the economic resilience of UK sub-regions recovering from the 2008 financial crisis and what lessons could now be learnt for recovery from COVID-19.

Dr Marianne Sensier, Professor Fiona Devine, and Dr Elvira Uyarra mapped the resilience of different regions across the UK by developing a resilience scorecard comprising of four components. The first compares the resistance of a region to the nation over a recession. Secondly, the duration of recession is noted and compared to the length of the national recession. Thirdly, how quickly the region recovers its pre-crisis peak compared to the nation, and fourthly the region’s growth paths before and after the crisis.

The research found that the South East was the most resilient region to the 2008 crisis, while the North East and Yorkshire and Humberside regions were the least resilient, along with Northern Ireland.

They also found that those areas with greater shares of knowledge-intensive and high-tech services, higher level qualifications, and managers and professionals had higher output, jobs, and productivity growth rates in recovery from the financial crisis.


They argue that the resilience scorecard could now be useful for national and local policymakers, and the Industrial Strategy Council, to help identify the UK regions that have lacked economic resilience during and since the 2008 recession. They say the factors they have identified as affecting resilience could be explored further and could help direct future funding streams towards the regions lacking economic resilience to help reduce regional disparities.

Build back better

In terms of the response to COVID-19, the academics also suggest that local industrial strategies are an opportunity to build back from this crisis not just better, but also greener. Local strategies could also enhance the capacity of firms to adjust their products and processes and adapt in response to the climate crisis.

They add that the sub-regions that were least resilient to the financial crisis will now have even less capacity to recover after ten years of austerity has reduced resources. These regions should be targeted with more funding and efforts should be made to increase human resource capacity within regions, locating innovation centres, skilled jobs, and management positions, particularly in the more knowledge intensive digital services.

You can read more about the research at this Policy@Manchester blog here.

Dr Marianne Sensier is a Research Fellow in Economics at Alliance Business School.

Professor Fiona Devine is Head of Alliance Manchester Business School.

Elvira Uyarra is Reader in Innovation Policy and Strategy at the Alliance Manchester Business School.