Which UK city brings in the most money? Ranking cities by economy

It will come as no surprise to most of us that some areas of the UK contribute more to the nation’s economic output than others, with many factors affecting a city’s local economy.

While fears of a recession in the overall economy have been prevalent, the UK has avoided a technical recession (two consecutive quarters of negative growth), with the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics showing no economic growth in Quarter 4, October to December 2022, but no contraction either.

While the country continues to go through an uncertain economic period, there was some good news for the various regions, with the London’s economy proving 2.7% bigger than it was pre-Covid.

Despite the government’s pledges to ‘level up’ various northern areas, London has historically outpaced other regions of the country in its economic output.

But which areas contribute the most to the country’s Gross Domestic Product?

Here is what you need to know.  

Which UK city brings in the most money?

Between 1998 and 2020, the ONS collected statistics for the output of various UK cities and areas.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it found London (and even London boroughs) outpaced other regions in the last year of data collection.

Two options for the GDP data were collected, city regions and local areas, with Gross Domestic Product measured at the current market prices of the time (in pounds, million).

Regarding the next set of figures to be released, the ONS told Metro.co.uk: ‘We plan to publish annual, balanced, regional GDP for 2021 in the Spring, with updates to these city regions data to follow afterwards.’

City Regions: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 2020 market prices (pounds, million)


  1. Greater London Authority – 503,904
  2. Greater Manchester Combined Authority – 82,743
  3. West Midlands Combined Authority – 76,128
  4. West Yorkshire Combined Authority – 63,691
  5. Glasgow City Region – 52,888
  6. Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region – 46,460
  7. Cardiff Capital Region – 38,705
  8. Liverpool City Region Combined Authority – 38,487
  9. West of England Combined Authority – 35,471
  10. Sheffield City Region – 31,732

Towards the bottom of the list, areas like the Scottish Island Councils, Derry-Londonderry City Region, and Growing Mid Wales had the lowest output.


  1. City of London – 86,997
  2. Westminster – 74,024
  3. Tower Hamlets – 38,715
  4. Camden – 32,354
  5. Birmingham – 30,579
  6. Leeds – 28,953
  7. Manchester – 26,361
  8. City of Edinburgh – 25,705
  9. Glasgow City – 24,573
  10. Southwark – 21,486

Areas like the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Merthyr Tydfil, and the Isle of Anglesey were found towards the bottom of the GDP list for 2020.

Source: ONS

Which UK region has the biggest GDP growth?

The ONS currently measures GDP per region and country quarterly, with the last data collected between April – June 2022.

We’ve published the latest experimental GDP, UK regions and countries data.

Wales and Northern Ireland showed negative quarter-on-quarter growth in GDP in Quarter 2 2022.

Growth in England and Scotland was flat.

➡️ https://t.co/wdvRQA6HWx pic.twitter.com/py7ShRjH7Z

— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) February 9, 2023

When it came to the four countries of the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland showed negative quarter-on-quarter growth, dropping by 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, while England and Scotland stayed flat at 0.0%.

However, in the latest quarterly data, the ONS also looked at the nine regions that make up the UK. London had the most significant positive quarter-on-quarter growth at 1.2%, while the North East experienced the biggest drop at -1.6%

London’s figure was mainly driven by growth in the arts, entertainment and recreation, plus accommodation and food service activities sectors, experiencing growth in 10 of the 22 industries measured.

However, the North East only experience growth in eight of the sections measured, with the Electricity, gas, steam and air sector seeing negative growth of more than -6%.

All regions (and countries) of the UK showed positive GDP growth compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

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