South East

After London the South East has the highest population density in the UK and is often referred to as the engine of the British economy. The region has the most varied economy of all UK regions. It is home to many international engineering and technology companies, particularly in the defence and aero industries. The region also has a flourishing space industry. Other well-developed sectors are IT, the pharmaceutical industry, BioTech and agriculture (mainly fruit). The Brighton area is a hotspot for the creative sector, including a concentration of interactive media.

South East

Image: ©Dutch Embassy


Total output (GDP), 2020                       

£327 billion

GDP per head 



Number of businesses, 2021


Annual % change in businesses, 2021

- 6,1%

Import (2020)

  • Value goods from the world: £81.4 billion
  • Value goods from the Netherlands: £6.7 billion
  • Main partners: Germany, Netherlands, United States

Export (2020)

  • Value goods from the world: £237.2 billion
  • Value goods from the Netherlands: £3 billion 
  • Main partners: United States, Germany, France

Local Enterprise Partnerships:

Solent                                              Thames Valley Berkshire

Enterprise M3                                 Oxfordshire

Coast to Capital                              Buckinghamshire

South East                                       Hertfordshire

Image: ©Dutch Embassy