Cities in the Midlands are seeing strong jobs growth and are catching up on the historic top-performers in the South of England, according to the latest PwC Good Growth for Cities Index.
While the highest ranked cities still tend to be mostly in the South of England, except for Edinburgh, the top 10 improvers in the 2017 index include Birmingham, Leicester, Wolverhampton & Walsall and Derby, suggesting that the Midlands is steadily narrowing the gap.
Only London and Southampton from the South are among the top 10 improvers relative to last year’s index.
John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said: “The UK has been a great job-creating machine in recent years and this has driven improvement in our good growth index this year across all major UK cities.
“On average across the UK, the index is now at its highest level since it began in 2006 and all regions have benefited from this upturn.
“But there has also been a price to pay for this in terms of worsening housing affordability, increased average commuting times and more people having to work long hours.
“The cities that are highest ranked on the index also tend to suffer the highest price of success.”
The sixth annual Good Growth for Cities 2017 index sets out to show that there’s more to life, work and general well-being than GDP.
The index measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the new Combined Authorities against a basket of ten indicators based on the views of the public as to what is key to economic success and wellbeing.
These include employment, health, income and skills - the most important factors, as judged by the public - while housing affordability, commuting times, environmental factors and income inequality are also included, as is the number of new business starts.
Birmingham reached the top spot for
The top 10 highest ranked cities were:
6. Milton Keynes
The top 10 most improved cities since last year were:
7. Middlesbrough & Stockton
8. Wolverhampton & Walsall
The index shows that all 42 UK cities improved their score relative to the 2016 Index, driven primarily by increasing employment.
In general, those cities that have seen the biggest improvements in their overall score have also experienced particularly large falls in unemployment in recent years.
However, while all 42 cities have improved their year-on-year scores in the 2017 index, success comes at a price.
A reduction in housing affordability, falling owner-occupation rates, rising average commuter-times, and minor declines in both health and work-life balance since last year’s report
Matthew Hammond, PwC’s Midlands Regional Chairman and Birmingham Office Senior Partner, said: “Delivering good growth cannot be achieved by any one person working alone.
“Growth goes hand-in-hand with place-based transformation, where local government, central government and the private sector act together and work collaboratively, to facilitate local economic growth, prosperity and wellbeing.
“There is strong evidence that devolution is creating conditions for what appear to be quick wins, but are in fact long-term growth opportunities.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement