The Economy


  • The Heart of the South West has a large population of almost 1.7 million.
  • HotSW economy worth 2.5% of England total
  • Per capita productivity average more or less matching the national average.
  • Plymouth population 256,400
  • Exeter population 118,000
  • Taunton population 65,000
  • Yeovil population 48,000 (2011 Census)


  • 78.7% economically active (77.4% UK average)
  • 13.8% skilled trade occupations (10.5% UK average)
  • 6.4% process plant and manufacturing operations (ONS, 2014).
  • Unemployment rate 2.3% (UK average 3.7%) (NOMIS, 2013).
  • 137,000 in professional occupations
  • 77,900 managers, directors and senior officials
  • Higher proportion of skilled tradespeople than the UK as a whole.
  • Despite skills levels being above the national average, labour costs are average at £11.24 per hour  (£13.25 UK average).

Marine Industries

  • Contribute £410m (GVA) to local economy
  • Create over 7,500 jobs
  • Contributes 1/5th of UK marine sector.
  • Cornwall and North Devon offshore wind and tidal resources up to 9.2 GW of energy.
  • 2012/13 saw a 25% increase in renewable energy projects in the Heart of the South West.

Aerospace & Advanced engineering

  • Aerospace and advanced engineering industries employ over 23,000 people, contributing over £1bn to the economy.


  • EDF Energy’s £16 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will be Europe’s largest engineering project and the UK’s largest inward investment project.
  • Hinkley Point C in Somerset is to be the UK’s first new nuclear power station in 25 years.
  • Hinkley Point C is estimated to provide in the region of £100m/year additional GVA into the local economy during the construction process.


  • The MET office’s £97m Supercomputer, within Exeter Science Park, will advance environmental futures, offering long-term, detailed global climate prediction and agri-management big data.

Success Stories

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Plymouth Marine Laboratory
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Rigid Containers Limited
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Wolf Minerals Drakelands
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