BORIS Johnson’s plans to “level up” Britain were hit as it emerged the regions are likely to bear the brunt of coronavirus’s economic fallout.
While London will also feel the impact, a study forecast the capital will be less affected than areas such as the Midlands, the North West and East.
City giant KPMG forecasts the West Midlands will now contract by just over ten per cent in 2020 as it is home to many carmakers who are facing a “severe downturn”.
The East could face a similar fall due to the slowdown in the construction sector.
Slumps will be almost as big in the East Midlands and North West.
London will drop seven per cent due to the “resilience” offered by financial and professional services.
KPMG chief economist Yael Selfin warned: “We expect that the gap will widen this year.”
Mike Cherry, of the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “It’s vital no parts of the country are left behind — and that will require support and investment.
“The ambition to level up rests not just on the Government’s commitment, but also on having small businesses creating opportunities.”
Meanwhile research by charity Centre for Cities found the North and Wales were at further risk because of higher debt levels.
dults in Sunderland, Wigan and Swansea typically owe £1 in every £5 they earn.
People in Warrington owe an average of three times as much as those in Oxford. Centre for Cities chief executive Andrew Carter said: “Unfortunately those struggling with debt are likely to be worst affected.”
The predictions came as Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey insisted Britain should be cautious about lifting the lockdown too early in case it caused a double dip.
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