A NEW report indicates Bradford has shown signs of strong economic activity following the first lockdown as people work where they live due to Covid-19.
Turnaround Towns analyses 10 towns and cities in northern England with lower than average growth over the past five years, including Bradford, Huddersfield and Wakefield.
Experts analysed four different points of Post Office data, and uncovered signs of local-led recovery as people made use of services locally due to working from home.
In some cases, the rebound in economic activity from May to July has reversed the contraction experienced during February to April. However, some of the economic indicators remain fragile.
The data also suggests commuter towns in the shadows of more affluent cities may have a unique chance to narrow the gap with their neighbours.
The analysis of Bradford shows there were some glimmers of hope for the city’s economy, with certain indices of economic activity showing signs of a speedy recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
• In the three months to July, compared to the three months to April, the volume of cash deposits made at Post Offices in Bradford increased by 10 per cent, the second fastest growth rate in this report and followed a 6 per cent contraction experienced in February to April. This suggests that business activity is experiencing a V-shaped recovery in the area.
• There has been a significant bounce-back in the number of Drop & Go transactions in the latest data, rising by 9 per cent between the three months to April and three months to July.
• However Bradford does still lag behind other places when looking at growth in value of cash withdrawals at Post Offices labelled as personal withdrawals between April and July 2020, as the city has seen the second slowest recovery on this measure.
A recovery ranking based on this data places Bradford fifth, with a score 20 per cent, behind Mansfield at 27 per cent, and Huddersfield and Wakefield with a 25 per cent boost.
Post Office chief executive Nick Read said: “Many towns have long been in the economic shadow of nearby cities so it is encouraging to see strong signs of growth and revival as more people work where they live. Post Office will play its part helping people to withdraw and deposit cash locally to them as well as send parcels to anywhere in the world.”
Josie Dent of the Centre for Economics and Business Research said: “We did not expect to see such a strong recovery in towns that have traditionally struggled. For many of these towns to have cancelled out the depth of the contraction they faced in lockdown is extraordinary. Policymakers should take note to nurture these green shoots of the recovery going into what will no-doubt be a challenging autumn.”