SOUTHAMPTON looks set to out-perform the majority of UK cities in 2020, despite a slowdown in growth.

A report predicts a “relatively strong” year in which the city will be the eighth fastest-growing in the UK.

It says Southampton’s economy is on course to grow by 1.2 per cent this year – compared with an average of 0.9 per cent in the 46 towns and cities covered.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth is one of only three areas expected to see economic growth accelerate this year.

The figures come from the UK Powerhouse study, compiled for law firm Irwin Mitchell by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

Hannah Clipston, partner and head of Irwin Mitchell’s business legal services division in Southampton, said: “Similar to many other cities in the UK, Southampton will see a slowdown of growth in the coming quarters.

“Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, Southampton continues to show resilience and this is reflected in an above average forecasted growth rate and its top 10 position by the end of the year.”

The report suggests Southampton’s economy will have grown by 1.2 per cent in GVA (gross value added) between the third quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2020.

That would take the total value of its economy to £7.5billion.

Employment is expected to rise by 0.7 per cent to 155,700 over the same period, putting the city 32nd in the UK for growth in jobs.

Portsmouth is forecast to be the second-fastest growing city in the country by end of 2020.

The report highlights the importance of the city’s port and naval dockyard, with £700million of non-EU trade handled each year.

The authors of the UK Powerhouse report say official economic data is often out of date and fails to provide a reliable snapshot of local economies. Cebr says it uses “more timely” indicators to create a “nowcast” of the economy and employment in a range of key towns and cities.

Victoria Brackett, chief executive of business legal services at Irwin Mitchell, says in its introduction: “The 0.4 per cent growth in GDP (gross domestic product) that we saw in Q3 last year meant we avoided a technical recession. There’s also hope that following December’s general election, we’ll have a period of stability in which businesses can start planning and investing for the future.

“Our latest City Tracker points to a slowdown in the level of growth across the vast majority of the 46 locations in this report, but it’s important to highlight the clusters of activity and opportunity.”