Recent synthesis of economic data by Devon County Council doesn’t make for very cheerful reading.
Before the pandemic began 39% of children across the county were part of working families claiming tax credits (3% higher than the national average) with even more in some areas (43% in North Devon and 44% in Torridge), while average pay for the lowest 20% of earners fell between 2019 and 2020, a period during which it rose nationally.
Exeter fared worst among Devon districts, with a 14% fall, at the same time as house prices rose by 18% and rents increased by more than twice as much as in the rest of the country.
As the pandemic has eased, the county has continued to struggle, with high housing costs, low wages and the “staycation” boom prompting landlords to cash in on short term lets among factors causing significant local labour shortages.
Meanwhile high street vacancy rates remain above the national average in many areas, including Exeter city centre.