The workforce in Copeland is among the least productive in the UK, new figures show.

The figures, which highlight the gross value added by the workforce to the economy in areas across the country, show massive regional disparities, with the majority of the most productive workforces based in London and the greater South East area of England.

Policy think-tanks have said the economic divide between London and the South East and the rest of the country "underline how pressing the levelling up agenda should be".

Office for National Statistics figures show workers in Copeland contributed £26.09 GVA per hour worked in 2021 – up from £25.09 in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

This was among the lowest figures in the UK, meaning the area had one of the least productive workforces in the country.

Paul Swinney, director of policy and research at Centre for Cities, said: "A key focus for the next Government should be to support every place to reach its potential, irrespective of where they are.

"The biggest cities outside of London, such as Birmingham and Manchester, are furthest from where they should be. It is fixing these places in particular that offers the biggest prize for the UK."

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said levelling up is a "long-term programme of reform that sits at the heart of our ambition as a Government".

A spokesperson added the Government is "determined to spread opportunity everywhere" through investment in town centres and devolving more money and power to local leaders.

They said: "We have allocated almost £10 billion from levelling up funds since 2019, in addition to the £7.5 billion commitment to the nine city-based mayoral combined authorities in England.

"This includes providing bespoke funding packages for areas in greatest need of levelling up and establishing investment zones to further drive growth across the country."