Oxford and Reading once again top PwC’s Good Growth for Cities index
For the third year in a row, Oxford and Reading have ranked as the top performing UK cities on PwC’s Good Growth for Cities 2019 index.
The annual Good Growth for Cities 2019 index sets out to show there is more to life, work and general well-being than simply measuring GDP. It measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and ten Combined Authorities, against a basket of 10 factors which the public think are most important when it comes to economic well-being. These include jobs, health, income and skills, as well as work-life balance, house-affordability, travel-to-work times, income equality, environment and business start-ups.
Oxford and Reading have topped the index for the past four years, reflecting consistent improvement across the board. This year’s ratings have shown the cities as particularly strong in income growth, jobs, skills and the environment.
The wider South East region has also performed strongly, with six out of eight cities in the South East have scored above the UK average. Southampton featured in 3rd position, and Cambridge in 9th.
The index has revealed some challenges for South East cities, particularly the affordability of housing. All South East cities are below the index average for house price to earnings, suggesting the area is becoming increasingly unaffordable. Although Reading has maintained its position in this year’s index, it has seen a decline in overall index score, driven predominantly by poorer house price to earnings ratios.
Previous PwC research found that for those who can afford to buy a house in the South East, it will cost, on average, £34,000 extra to live near a top performing state primary school, and according to PwC’s UK Economic Outlook several key workers such as nurses and teachers are now being priced out of the rental market in the South East.
“The strong performance of both Oxford and Reading in the PwC Good Growth for Cities index follows increasing levels of available jobs, growing incomes, and a diversity of skills in the city. Growth is visible throughout the Thames Valley, particularly since the Oxford- Milton Keynes -Cambridge Arc has become a major UK focus. At PwC we recognise the region’s potential, and have been investing in the Thames Valley. This year we have launched a new ‘Frontier’ hub, where clients and staff can experience innovative technology to solve problems. The affordability of housing is a challenge for the Thames Valley, but by working together place leaders can address issues such as this, and continue to unlock opportunities the area has for continued growth.”
John Ellis, PwC Reading Office Senior Partner
See video from John Ellis, PwC’s Reading Office Senior Partner talk about Reading’s success in the 2019 Good Growth for Cities Report – Watch HERE
The Thames Valley’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) in particular perform strongly, with the top four positions made up by Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Enterprise M3 and Thames Valley Berkshire LEP’s, driven by high scores in skills, jobs and incomes.
“Another fantastic set of results for the Thames Valley and the South East in general. The results are clear, unmistakable evidence that the region, Oxford and Reading in particular, are continuing to lead the South East in terms of economic growth. This year the region has continued to build upon its significant and established array of clusters, including financial and professional services, life sciences and technology. Oxford, as an innovative city, home to the world’s best university for the fourth successive year and regionally significant business parks, it is no wonder that it has topped Good Growth for Cities Index for a third year, highlighting its crucial role in promoting the Thames Valley and the UK around the world.”
Paul Britton, Chief Executive at Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce
Read more, HERE.