| 13.5°C Belfast

Belfast ranks third in wealth generating cities poll

Belfast's wealth generating capabilities have been catching up with London, latest statistics show.

Each person in Belfast generated an average of £32,264 per head in the year to January 1 2009, up 4.4% on the previous year, according to accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young.

That compares to just over £35,000 per person in London and £34,500 for Edinburgh and ranks Belfast's wealth generating capabilities third in a list of the UK's top performing cities by Gross Value Added.

GVA measures contributions to the UK economy according to the value of the goods and services produced.

The average GVA per person in UK cities stood at £21,103 over the period.

"These figures will probably surprise many in the local market given the current harsh economic environment," Hal Catherwood, head of Brewin Dolphin in Belfast said. "The structure of business in Belfast is certainly in transition. However, wealth can still be created."

Marc Waterman, partner in UHY Hacker Young's London office, said the demise of the financial services sector hurt London in 2008.

"For years London was streets ahead of other UK towns and cities in generating wealth for the economy, driven by its huge financial services industry. But with the major restructuring that banks and financial services companies went through following the credit crunch crisis, London's fire power has been weakened."