Britain’s services exports essential to regional and national economies

Press release
13 October 2022

A new report from TheCityUK shows that 43% of Britain’s £129.7bn of financial and related professional services exports originated outside London in 2020. The figures show that between 2019-20, total financial and related professional services exports across Britain rose by 8.4%, with the South East (9.1% of the total £129.7bn), Scotland (6.8%) and North West (5.4%) making the largest contributions to British exports outside of London.

In ‘Exporting from across Britain: Financial and related professional services 2022’, TheCityUK explores the large contribution Britain’s regions and nations make to overall UK industry export activity.

All regions and nations across Britain generated trade surpluses in financial services in 2020. London had the largest financial services trade surplus of £34bn, followed by the South East (£5.1bn) and Scotland (£4.6bn).

Between 2016-20, London experienced the strongest average annual growth of industry exports at 13%, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (12%), the North East (10%), and Scotland (9%).

Anjalika Bardalai, Chief Economist and Head of Research, TheCityUK, said,

“As London is one of the world’s leading international financial centres, it inevitably leads the UK’s exports of financial and related professional services. But the idea that London sells these services overseas and the rest of the UK focuses on domestic activity is misleading.

“Other regions, especially the South East, Scotland, the North West and the East of England, also make important contributions to exports of financial and related professional services, demonstrating the vital economic role the industry plays across all parts of the country.

“In addition, as the UK braces for an economic storm, the surplus generated by financial and related professional services provides an important buffer against the risks of a widening trade deficit.”

Financial services were the biggest exporting services sector in every British region and nation in 2020, apart from the South East and the East of England.

In terms of the destination of British financial services exports, 71% went to non-EU countries and the remaining 29% went to the EU in 2020. For the UK as a whole, the US was by far the largest destination for financial services exports, accounting for 34% of total financial services exports in 2020. Other notable non-EU destinations for industry exports were Japan (3.5%) and Canada (3.4%).

Full regional and national data, including some sub-regional data, is available in the full report:Exporting from across Britain: Financial and related professional services 2022’.