Economic support for local government and partners

We help combined authorities, local authorities and regional partners identify the unique attributes of their areas, foresee upcoming trends and challenges and actively shape the future.

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Our capabilities

We understand that each place has its own narrative, challenges and visions for the future. That's why our approach is deeply rooted in customisation and collaboration.

row of houses in London

Economic and social audits

Deliver Local Economic Assessments (LEAs) to understand the economic performance of local areas and identify opportunities and challenges for local economic development.

Questions we can help answer:

  • What are the current industrial structures and productivity levels of your local area? How competitive are your key sectors when compared to similar sectors in other regions, within the UK and internationally?
  • How have local house prices, income levels and consumer spending patterns changed over time in your local area?
  • What are the impacts of new administrative or strategic geographies, including the formation of Combined Authorities? Is there evidence on the opportunities that cooperation can bring and a way to quantify the potential benefits?

Work in spotlight: Only a few northern economies will outperform the UK

Stereotypes about the north and south are not always correct. In 2016-19, a third of northern English local economies outpaced the UK. But at Oxford Economics, we forecast that in the next five years, that number will probably fall, as economic challenges grow, and unless ways can be found to raise the performance of more local northern economies.

Bespoke forecasts

Offer detailed, local sector and area-specific forecasts for UK local authorities, along with a range of alternative scenarios, including those driven by climate change.

Questions we can help answer:

  • How will my local economy rank in comparison to other UK local authorities and on a global scale?
  • What are the prospects for household incomes and earnings, as well as population by age cohort in my local area?
  • What are the projected growth rates for key industries in specific local economies over the coming decade?
  • How could developments in the wider economy, including advancements in AI and automation as well as climate change mitigation, impact the UK local economy?

Work in spotlight: Test Valley Economic Assessment and Forecasts

Commissioned by the Test Valley Borough Council, we conducted a detailed evaluation of Test Valley’s historical and projected economic performance. We delivered strategic recommendations aimed at empowering the local authority to capitalise on its strengths, whilst taking account of UK and global economic trends.

Policy impact analysis

Quantify the economic impact of policies and initiatives at the local level for local authorities.

Questions we can help answer:

  • How might policies designed to attract more inward investment affect local economic productivity and create new job opportunities?
  • What local benefits can be expected from government investment in skill development?
  • How could my local economy benefit from initiatives like cultivating the local knowledge economy, expanding the health and life sciences sector, prioritising the green economy, supporting the everyday economy, or embracing new technologies such as AI?

Work in spotlight: Raising Scotland’s Economic Growth Rate

Oxford Economics was commissioned by the Hunter Foundation to deliver an independent assessment of Scotland’s economic prospects and challenges, as well as the impact of policy interventions. Our analysis suggests that the existing economic policies of either the UK or Scottish governments are unlikely to significantly transform Scotland’s economic performance. We concluded that to close the gap with comparable nations, political leaders need to go beyond their present policy offers.  

Strategic advice

Support local and combined authorities in developing action plans by providing in-depth socio-economic analysis; assist in developing Economic Development Plans for local areas.

Questions we can help answer:

  • Which areas should local and regional partners prioritise— attracting inward investment, place-making, boosting exports or supporting local businesses?
  • How can partners ensure that their initiatives are both inclusive and sustainable?
  • How do local resources and opportunities align to your local economic development goals?

Work in spotlight: The Future of the South London Economy Post COVID-19

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the South London Partnership quickly commissioned the team at Oxford Economics to quantify the economic impact of the pandemic on the South London economy. We delivered economic forecasts for each of the SLP+ local economies, identified the key issues facing south London, and provided five strategic policy recommendations for partners to consider.

Research into locally important topics

Zoom into topics that hold relevance to the local economy and quantify their economic implications.

Questions we can help answer:

  • What has been the impact of Covid and/or Brexit on my local area, and has there been permanent damage?
  • How wealthy are local residents, considering factors such as house prices, pensions, physical assets that are often overlooked?
  • What are the biggest Net Zero challenges for local areas: road transport, factories, homes, farming or others?
  • What would be the local economic consequences of physical disasters such as floods, resulting from climate change?

Work in spotlight: Hackney’s Green Economy: An asset to be nurtured

Claims about the scale and scope of the green economy abound. But what is the evidence? In partnership with Ramidus Consulting, we researched the current scale and specialisms of Hackney’s green economy, scrutinised existing data for likely errors, undertook new primary research, spoke directly to local businesses, and identified future opportunities and potential barriers to growth. We investigated the extent of green business networks within the borough and the potential for growing a thriving cluster, locally.

How we support UK local government

We partner with our clients at local and combined authorities to build transparent, credible and defendable foundations for decision-making.

Identify growth opportunities

We review and forecast local and regional economies to help you identify your area’s assets, strengths, opportunities and challenges. By drawing on our comprehensive databanks and models, as well as our breadth of research experience, we support local areas across the UK in pursing sustainable and inclusive growth.

Assess policy decisions

We help clients at the local and combined authorities quantify the likely economic impact of their initiatives and efforts, by leveraging our proprietary models.

Support strategic initiatives

From building consensus with stakeholders at various levels to justifying public sector funding, we deliver concise and impactful reports that support local and combined authorities in achieving their strategic goals. Our approach encompasses proprietary models, databases, workshops and both qualitative and quantitative survey methods to deliver evidence-based conclusions.

Why partner with us?

Our blend of local knowledge, modelling expertise, global perspective and comprehensive support positions us as the trusted expert for local government and regional partners.

Economic and technical expertise

Our proven methodologies, integrating proprietary economic models, comprehensive data and expert analysis of the local economy, enable us to offer our clients a transparent, credible and defendable basis to validate existing strategies and to plan effectively for the future.

Local focus

Specialising in local economies, our team possesses a deep understanding of the nuances and unique challenges of local areas across the UK.

Client support

From framing the research questions to designing appropriate methodologies, and delivering tailored insights, we ensure our clients are fully informed of our approach and results, as well as how to understand and communicate them.

Broader perspective

While we delve deeply into local areas, we also incorporate perspectives that reach beyond local and regional boundaries, positioning strategies, investments and policy initiatives within broader national and international contexts.

Meet the Team

Our experts bring decades of knowledge about local economies and a deep understanding of the needs of clients at local and combined authorities to each of our projects.

Richard Holt

Director of Global Cities Research

Richard Holt

Director of Global Cities Research

London, United Kingdom

Richard provides thought leadership on many of our regional and city projects and forecast services, both in the UK and globally. He has particular experience in long-term thinking and strategy, and identifying the drivers of growth. He has worked at Oxford Economics for a decade, having previously occupied senior roles in Birmingham, London and New York. He is a very experienced project director and also presents widely to diverse audiences.

Kerry Houston
Kerry Houston

Associate Director, Cities & Regions

Kerry Houston

Kerry Houston

Associate Director, Cities & Regions

Belfast, United Kingdom

Kerry leads a team specialising in sub-national economic analysis and forecasting. She is a widely respected expert on local and regional model development and is responsible for Oxford Economics’ UK Regional Forecasting Service and its local authority equivalent. Kerry also manages a range of local economic consultancy projects for both public and private sector clients.

Tim Lyne

Associate Director, Cities & Regions

Private: Tim Lyne

Associate Director, Cities & Regions

London, United Kingdom

Tim leads economic research and forecasting projects with a regional, local or city focus, often with a focus on sustainability, social inclusion, and climate change challenges and opportunities. His knowledge from 20 years’ experience spans the areas of local economic development, economic and demographic forecasting, econometric and impact modelling and spatial analysis. He has worked at Oxford Economics for the last 4 years, and was previously Head of Economics at Experian.

Neil McCullough

Director, Cities Consultancy


Neil McCullough

Director, Cities Consultancy

Belfast, United Kingdom

Neil leads a consultancy team with particular expertise in economic impact analysis, and also economic support for local, city and regional planning.
Neil and his team have extensive experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and work across the UK, but also internationally especially in the Middle East. Neil is a highly experienced project manager and presenter, including providing evidence on planning issues, and often works in partnership with other specialist consultancies.

Contact us

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please fill in the form and let us know a bit more about you and what you’re looking for. A member of our cities consulting team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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