Somerset is about to see a major growth in its economy, with a major investment in nuclear and many associated sectors, underpinned by improvements to the transport and communications infrastructure.
The recent decision by investors to press ahead with the development of a new generation of nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C on the Somerset coast will see a huge growth in nuclear and other low carbon business, together with other associated sectors. The other fastest growing sectors over the next 10 years are considered to be financial and business services as well as distribution/hotels (Oxford Economics 2010).
A vast range of industries are represented in Somerset and there are a number of particularly strong sectors including:
- Advanced Engineering & Aerospace
- Food & Drink
- Tourism (now a £1billion sector)
- Creative industry
- Renewable Energy & Environmental Technology
- New Nuclear (£18billion investment in Somerset)
"Compared to the UK and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area, Somerset has particular concentrations of employment and economic value in the aerospace and food and drink manufacturing sectors. Aerospace contributed 314m to Somerset’s GVA in 2014; 3.3% of the total, compared to just 0.6% nationally and 1.4% across the LEP. Food and drink manufacturing is worth £368m to the Somerset economy, accounting for 3.8% of total GVA compared to 1.5% nationally and 2% across the LEP." (Somerset Economic Assessment 2016)
High business start-up rates, low unemployment and continuous job growth are all evidence of Somerset’s vitality and entrepreneurial spirit.
Firms report being able to run their business up to 30% more cost effectively than in London and the South East, due to lower commercial property and staffing costs.
Read the latest information about Somerset's economy on the dedicated Somerset Intelligence Network website, with a page on the Somerset Economic Assessment (2016). Key facts from there include:
- The credit crunch caused Somerset’s GVA to contract by 4.6% between 2007 and 2010. However, since 2012 the Somerset economy has been growing at a faster rate than the UK.
- In 2014, the Somerset economy was worth £9.586 billion, an increase of 3.2% since 2013. Without policy intervention, by 2030, the Somerset economy is expected to be worth £13.892bn; a growth of 44.9% from its 2014 level.
- The majority of Somerset’s GVA (£6.7bn in 2014) is generated by service-based industries. Production and manufacturing play a greater role in the County than at a national level.
- Somerset has a higher employment rate than the UK overall (78.5% compared to 72.6%) and higher levels of self-employment than the UK (17.5% compared to 14.7%). The proportion of people in the County who are self-employed has increased by 20% since 2009.
- According to ONS data, in 2014 there were 22,370 businesses in Somerset, an increase of 2.3% on the previous year.
All five District Councils support businesses in their area through knowledgeable, proactive and skilled Economic Development teams.
- Mendip District Council
- Sedgemoor District Council
- South Somerset District Council
- Taunton Deane Borough Council
- West Somerset Council