Eden, Cumbria, The Lake District – A natural choice for business

Area statistics


Eden had the second highest population growth in Cumbria between 2001 and 2011 at 5.7%, more than double the Cumbria rate (2.5%) but below the England and Wales rate (7.8%);
The area has the lowest population density of any LA in England (24.6 per sq km);
The district has an older age profile than that of England and Wales (30.2% over 60 as against 22.5%) and 29.8% aged under 30 against 37.7% in GB;
The working age population is 32,447 (61.5% of total population), which is lower than the NW (64.4%) and England and Wales (65.0%).

Conclusions: the population is growing but more so among the older age groups than the younger age groups which will put pressure on services. The falling working age population will increase the tightness of the local labour market.

Employment and Pay

  • There are 29,000 jobs in Eden (employed, self-employed, Govt trainees, HM Forces);
  • 13,651 residents (68.8% of the employed population) are in full time employment and 6,181 (31.2%) are in part time employment;
  • There is a significantly higher rate of self-employment among residents in Eden (17.3% - 6,685) than in England and Wales (9.7%);
  • Part-time employee jobs located in Eden are higher (36.5%) than the England and Wales average (32.5%);
  • Eden has a higher job density figure at 0.9 than Cumbria (0.81) or the UK (0.78) (jobs density is the number of jobs per resident aged 16-64);
  • The economic activity rate in Eden is higher than England and Wales (73.4% v 69.7%) and the proportion of economically active residents who are in employment/self-employment is also higher than nationally (93.4% v 88.8%);
  • The JSA claimant rate is very low in Eden (1.2%) compared with the UK (3.7%) although there are some pockets of higher unemployment in Alston Moor (2.1%) and parts of Penrith (South 2.5%, West 2.3% and East 2.2%);
  • The median gross weekly full time earnings of Eden residents in 2012 were £431.0 which is 85.2% of the UK figure (£505.9). For jobs at workplaces in Eden the median gross weekly full time earnings were £433.9 which is 85.8% of the UK figure.

Conclusions: High rates of economic activity, a higher than average employment rate and low JSA claimant rate contribute to a tight labour market in the area which has implications for housing provision, transport and economic development. However, low pay level, levels of part time working and seasonality remain issues.


The qualification profile for Eden residents is very similar to nationally with 22.7% of residents having no qualifications and 27.4% being qualified to level 4 or higher (degree).

  • In 2011/12 there were 3,090 FE and skills learners in Eden, 62% of these were female (England 54%);
  • 19% of FE and skills learners in Eden in 2011/12 were under 19 (England 25.3%), 18.4% were aged 19-24 years (England 17.9%) and 62.5% were over 25 years (England 56.8%);
  • 27.9% of FE and skills learners in Eden were undertaking an Apprenticeship (England 19.1%) and a further 9.4% were undertaking workplace based learning (England 10.9%)
  • Businesses in Eden were less likely than elsewhere in Cumbria to report skills gaps in 2011 (Cumbria Business Survey) with 9% doing so compared to 12% across the county;
  • Where skills gaps were identified, these were most likely to be technical/specialist skills to the sector or IT and office skills;
  • 13% of job postings in the Penrith and Appleby travel to work area in the 2nd quarter of 2013 were in the accommodation sector, 11% in construction and 11% in health;
  • 21% of job postings were for professional occupations, 16% in association professional/technical, 11% in sales and 11% in skilled trades;
  • There were 3,090 FE and skills learners in Eden in 2011/12, 19% of whom were under 19 which is a lower proportion than nationally (25%). A further 18% of FE and skills learners in Eden were aged 19-24 and 63% aged over 25.

Conclusions: The skills profile of the resident population is average but the structure of employment and enterprises located in the district suggests there may be a mismatch between the supply of skills among residents and the demand from businesses.

Employment Structure

  • Accommodation and food services account for 19% of employee jobs located in Eden (not including agriculture or self-employment) almost 3 times the national average;
  • A further 16% of employee jobs in Eden are in the retail sector (same as GB);
  • Manufacturing and construction jobs in Eden are marginally higher than the GB average (manufacturing 10.1% v 8.5%, construction 7.6% v 4.8%);
  • The proportion of financial service, IT and business service employee jobs in Eden is significantly lower than the national average (8.3% v 17.3%);
  • Between 2009 and 2011, total employee jobs in Eden fell by -1.7% compared to a national decline of -0.3%. Sectors particularly badly hit in Eden have been construction, property, arts and recreation, education and public admin. However there has been growth in the hospitality, health and transport sectors.

Conclusions: The structure of the local economy is relatively healthy although there is a higher than average proportion of employment in the hospitality sector which has lower output value per job than other sectors. Recent job growth has been poor and not in high value sectors.

Business Structure

  • There are 3,460 VAT/PAYE enterprises in Eden which represents 1,062 per 10,000 working age population, almost twice the national average;
  • A third of VAT/PAYE enterprises in Eden are in the agriculture and forestry sector (5 times the national average), however the district has a significantly lower proportion of professional/scientific enterprises (7.2% v 16.4%) and IT enterprises (1.7% v 7.4%).
  • Eden has a higher proportion (91%) of micro-enterprises (under 10 employees) than UK (87%) and a lower proportion (0.1%) of large businesses (over 250 employees) than the UK (0.4%);
  • Business "births" (new registrations for VAT/PAYE) in Eden were low in 2011 (49.4 per 10,000 working age population in 2011 compared to 63.9 nationally) and business "deaths" were high (66.4 v 56.2) indicating a high degree of churn in the economy;
  • Despite the degree of churn of Eden businesses, survival to rates to 3 years for businesses first registered for VAT/PAYE in 2008 are higher than average at 64.3% (GB 58%).
  • 411 businesses registered for their first bank account in Eden in the year to March 2013, 20% were in the recreation sector, 17% in professional and business services, 14% in construction and 11% each in retail and accommodation/food.

Conclusions: The stock of businesses per head of population in Eden is above average reflecting the predominance of small businesses in the area. The size structure is typical for a predominantly rural area. Low business formation rates suggest that further activity to promote start-ups may be necessary, together with assistance to help businesses survive beyond the first few years.

The Economic Development Strategy Action Plan identifies the digital media and creative sector as holding a potential to create new well paid jobs.


  • There were estimated to be 4.13m visitors to Eden in 2012, equating to 6.41m tourist days;
  • Tourism related activities are estimated to support 3,760 FTE jobs in Eden;
  • Tourism income in Eden in 2012 was estimated to be £240m;
  • Most tourism businesses in Eden are small with 50% of accommodation providers having 3 or less rooms.
  • Eden Tourism Information Centres deal with around 69,000 enquiries a year.

Conclusions: Tourism is significant to the Eden economy. It is a dynamic sector and needs to continue to improve and develop. Key areas for development are to extend the length of stay by developing new product and business markets.

Housing Market

  • According to Census 2011 there were 23,043 households in Eden, 30% of them with a single occupant;
  • At the time of the Census, 3,522 people who live outside Eden said they had a second home in Eden (NB more than one person may be reported at the same address), of which 53% were for holiday purposes;
  • The median house price in Eden in 2012 (CACI Street Value) was £198,340 which is 114% of the GB average;
  • The median household income in Eden in 2012 (CACI PayCheck) was £26,265 which is 92% of the GB average giving Eden an affordability ratio of 7.1 (compared to 6.1% nationally).

Conclusions: There is pressure on the local housing market brought about by high house prices compared to local income and demand in some sectors of the market including affordable housing in excess of supply.

The lack of housing in some sectors could contribute to the tightness of the labour market and could jeopardise future growth.