SOUTHAMPTON is set to slide down the list of the UK’s fastest-growing cities, a report has found.

The UK Powerhouse study predicts the city will slip down from second to ninth place in the researchers’ league table.

But the president of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has said the statistics cannot show the “overwhelming sense of ambition” in Southampton at present.

READ MORE: Southampton in top 10 of the UK's thriving cities

The city was in second place in the table at the end of 2021, with the economy growing year-on-year by 8.4 per cent.

But the report predicts annual growth will fall to 2.2 per cent in gross value added (GVA) in the final quarter of 2023, to £7.5billion.

That would put the city in ninth position for growth among the 50 cities covered in the survey by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

“Transport and storage is one of the city’s largest industries, reflecting its position on the coast and large port infrastructure,” the report says.

“This has allowed the city to benefit from the recovery in global trade volumes since the start of the pandemic, fuelling its growth.

“Nevertheless, this trend could reverse over the coming year, with continued supply chain disruption, and the impacts of the Ukraine conflict and subsequent sanctions, likely to impact the global trade environment. This is highlighted by Southampton’s relative fall down the rankings when considering growth in Q4, when output is forecasted to pick up by just 2.2 per cent.

“Recent government announcements suggest that Southampton’s growth prospects could pick up again in the longer term, with the city expected to be at the forefront of the rapidly developing hydrogen economy following the receipt of large-scale funding.”

READ MORE: Southampton businesses back UK City of Culture bid

Peter Taylor, president of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Whilst the report accurately identifies many of the factors which have impacted on the city’s economy and will affect the national and global economies, statistics do not and cannot reflect the sense of ambition and business sentiment across the city region.

“There is an overwhelming sense of ambition to seize the strategic opportunities which the city has as well as address the challenges we face as a community.

“We have seen how the stakeholders and sectors have collaborated on the city’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025, as well as embrace the potential benefits of the Solent Freeport to create new jobs across the region.”

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