Last updated on 5/13/2015 Print this page
The fact that many local economic performance 'league tables'
place Hull close to the bottom (or high up for deprivation) is a
source of frustration to local stakeholders.
To assess the validity of these league tables, Dr Michael Nolan,
Senior Lecturer in Economics at Hull University Business
School, has been carrying out a study looking at the role of
the city’s boundaries and whether they contribute to poor economic
league table performance.
The study considers alternative definitions of spatial unit,
seeking evidence on whether league table orderings for local areas
The report examines the 2010 English Index of Multiple
Deprivation (IMD), as values are available for all 32,482 Lower
layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in England – covering local
variations in income, employment, health, education, housing and
The study demonstrates how the IMD ‘league tables’ look for the
case of two existing types of spatial unit – the Local Authority
area and the Travel-To-Work Area (TTWA). Comparisons are made for
other places centred on urban concentrations.
Hull’s positions in LA and TTWA IMD league tables are very
different, with more favourable results in the latter. This is
chiefly because the Hull LA area is much more tightly drawn,
whereas the Hull TTWA is far wider.
Although limited in scale and scope, the study concludes that
league tables can be made to look rather different when the
definition of spatial units is altered. In particular, the league
position of the area centred on Hull becomes much more similar to
the respective positions of other areas centred on urban
concentrations elsewhere in the Yorkshire and Humber Region, and
other parts of northern England.
Administrative LA areas and functional TTWAs each serve
a useful purpose. However, for local stakeholders, the practical
reality of the local area is very likely to take in more than a
tightly defined LA area. It is worth considering comparisons which
are not confined to TTWAs (since these may be of very different
sizes), and the study – co-authored by Dr Steve Trotter (Hull
University Business School) and Dr Mike Reynolds (Bradford
University), and recently published in the journal Local
Economy – demonstrates that a concentric approach offers some