Oxford named as highest performing UK city in annual PwC report
Additionally, the report showcases Reading as performing above the UK average across indicators such as income, health, skills, safety and owner occupation.
The Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities report looks at how the radical reshaping of public and private sector roles would help our cities respond to current challenges, while at the same time steer us towards growth and genuine levelling up.
Best known for its world-class universities, natural beauty, diversity and cultural heritage, Oxford does well on income, employment rates and life expectancy to maintain first place, using its commercial assets for the benefit of local people – wholly-owned companies and the commercial properties create jobs, support the local economy and provide additional funds that support the delivery of public services. They call this Oxford Model.
It is an attractive place to invest as well as live, as one of the UK’s most highly skilled and important city economies it contributes around £6.8bn a year to the national economy. The city has many assets to build on, but crucially it has mature public/private sector partnership ready to deliver better outcomes, and a proactive approach to working with central government stakeholders.
For example, collaboration with major institutions and businesses locally, like the universities and BMW, is central in working towards being a zero carbon city. The city will continue to use its Oxford Model, using its wholly owned companies to build affordable homes and deliver services and reinvesting funds into community centres, facilities and services, a position many cities aren’t as likely to be in.
Julian Gray, South East market leader and Southampton senior partner at PwC says: “It is fantastic to see Oxford leading the Index again this year, as it performs exceptionally well on income, employment rates and life expectancy skills, owner-occupier rates, the environment and safety. Oxford is an attractive place to invest as well as live, and as one of the UK’s most highly skilled and important city economies it contributes around £6.8bn a year to the national economy.
“It is also very encouraging that many of our other cities, such as Reading and Southampton, perform above the UK average across indicators such as income, health, skills, safety and owner occupation. This is particularly encouraging as the region is expected to experience positive growth of 0.75% in 2024”.
A historically strong performer, Swindon was found to rank above the UK average in at least 5 indicators, including transport, health and jobs. Not only this, but the report characterises the town with high levels of economic activity a multitude of areas, most noticeably – agriculture and mining.
All 3 locations have an above average share of economic activity in the professional, scientific, and technical sectors.
The upcoming Good Growth for Cities Report Findings event is the perfect opportunity to delve deeper and gain further insight from the report. Hosted by PwC in partnership with the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, the in-person networking event will be a deep dive on the data for Reading and the surrounding cities in the region.
To read the full report, please click here