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

Area statistics


  • Between 2005 and 2015 the estimated population of Eden has increased by 900 people (+1.7%), with the greatest percentage increase occurring in the 85+ age group (+54.4%) and the greatest percentage decrease occurring in the 30-44 age group (-26.5%).
  • The area has the lowest population density of any LA in England.
  • The district has an older age profile than nationally (23.8% over 65 compared with 17.4%) and 29.7% aged under 30 against 37.3% nationally.
  • The working age population is 31,300 (59.5% of total population), which is similar to Cumbria (60.5%) but lower than the national rate of 63%.

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 31,000 jobs in Eden (employed, self-employed, Govt trainees, HM Forces);
  • ​There is a significantly higher rate of self-employment among residents in Eden (21%) than nationally (10%);
  • 62.1% residents are in full time employment and 37.9% part time are in part time employment, Eden has the highest percentage of part time workers of any district in Cumbria and above the national average of 30.9%.
  • Eden has a higher job density figure at 0.99 than Cumbria (0.90) or the UK (0.83) (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 (0.6%) compared with the UK (1.8%) although there are some pockets of higher unemployment in Alston Moor (1.5%), Appleby (1.5%) and parts of Penrith (West 1.3% and East 1.0%);
  • The median gross weekly full time earnings of Eden residents in 2016 were £442 which is 82% of the UK figure (£539). For jobs at workplaces in Eden the median gross weekly full time earnings were £417 which is 77.4% 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’s economically active population is broadly similar to nationally. The biggest differences are twice as many apprenticeship qualifications in Eden than nationally, a noticeably bigger percentage of level 3 qualifications in Eden, but with a lower percentage of people qualified to level 4 or higher.  

Qualifications of economically active population (APS 2015)

  Eden No Eden (%) National (%)
Level 4 and above 10,767 34.4 41.4
Level 3 8,674 28 17.1
Apprenticeship 1,941 6.2 3.6
Level 2 3,443 11.0 15.5
Level 1 3,318 10.6 10.5
Other 1,847 5.9 6.4
No qualifications 1,189 3.8 5.5
  • In 2015/16 there were 440 apprenticeship starts by Eden residents meaning there were 860 participating in apprenticeships during the year.  A further 830 participated in community learning and 770 in other education & training activity.
  • 15% of businesses surveyed in Eden reported skills gaps in 2015/16 (Cumbria Business Survey) this was similar to other districts, the Cumbria average was 14%.
  • Where skills gaps were identified, these were most likely to be technical/specialist skills to the sector, advanced IT and software skills and management skills. 
  • 29% of job postings in Eden in the year to Sept 2016 were in the accommodation & food services sector, followed by 18.1% in health and 13% in wholesale & retail.;
  • 16% of job postings were for professional occupations, 16% for associate professional & technical occupations and 15% for skilled trades.

Conclusions: The skills profile of the economically active 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 20.6% of employee jobs located in Eden (not including agriculture or self-employment) almost three times the national average;
  • A further 9.7% 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 9.3% v 8.2%, construction 5.2% v 4.7%);
  • The proportion of financial service, IT and business service employee jobs in Eden is significantly lower than the national average (11.8% v 26.5%);
  • In the medium term between 2010 and 2015, total employment grew in Eden by 600 jobs or 2.2%. This is below Cumbria’s average of 4.4% and the national average of 7%.
  • Sectors particularly badly hit in Eden have been construction (-30.0%, -550), and professional, scientific & technical (-36.3%, -600) but there has been growth in Information & communications (+28.0%, +80), accommodation & food services (+24.2%, +1,000) and transport & storage (+20.4%, +250).
  • Analysis shows that Eden is more dependent on the Agriculture, Accommodation and Food Services, and Public Administration Sectors for employment than the Cumbria average. C

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 mainly in the lower wage sectors, but growth in information and communications is positive. 

Business Structure

  • There are 4,095 VAT/PAYE local units in Eden which represents 1,308 per 10,000 working age population, almost twice the national average;
  • A third of VAT/PAYE local unit in Eden are in the agriculture and forestry sector (over six times the national average), however the district has a significantly lower proportion of professional/scientific enterprises (7.4% v 15.9%) and information & communications enterprises (2.0% v 7.4%).
  • Eden has a higher proportion (86.6%) of micro-units (under 10 employees) than UK (84.1%) and a lower proportion (0.1%) of large businesses (over 250 employees) than the UK (0.4%);
  • The business “birth” rate (new registrations for VAT/PAYE) in Eden was low in 2015 (7.6 per stock of active enterprises compared to 14.3 nationally) but the business “death” rate was lower than nationally (8.0 v 9.4). 
  • Survival rates to three years for businesses first registered for VAT/PAYE in 2012 were 70.0% compared to a national average of 59.4%.
  • 256 businesses registered for their first bank account in Eden in 2016, 23% were in professional and business services, 18% in recreation, personal & community services, 11% in construction and 10% 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.


  • During 2015, Eden attracted 4.64 million tourism visits (visitor numbers up 3.6% on 2014)
  • Tourism related activities are estimated to support 4,200 FTE jobs in Eden;
  • Tourism income in Eden in 2015 was estimated to be £300m;

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 2014 (CACI StreetValue) was £192,822 which is 112% of the GB average;
  • The median household income in Eden in 2014 (CACI PayCheck) was £26,333 which is 93% of the GB average giving Eden an affordability ratio of 7.3 (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.