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Thames Valley cities and towns ranked highly in annual barometer of economic performance

10:11 07 February in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Uncategorized

Cities Outlook 2017 the annual barometer of the economic performance of the UK’s top cities, continues to rank Oxford, Reading and Slough among the most dynamic and productive for business growth, skills, innovation and wages in the country.  The report is the annual health-check of the economic performance of the United Kingdom’s 63 largest cities and draws on a range of statistics about the levels of innovation, employment, earnings and skills in the workforce as well as housing, population and the environment.

The headlines of the report are:

  • Productivity and innovation are drivers of long-run economic growth. Finding new and better ways of making goods and delivering services improves the performance of businesses, which in turn increases the productivity of the economy.  The report states that London, Slough (2nd) and Reading (3rd) were the three cities with the highest levels of productivity, with GVA per worker over 30 per cent above the British average of £54,700.  Oxford achieved 7th place.
  • City economies are predominantly driven by their businesses. The overall number of businesses in a city, as well as the number of new business start-ups and closures, are all positive indicators of the strength of a city’s economy. Between 2014 and 2015 the number of business start-ups increased by 9.3 per cent in the UK. 52 out of 63 cities had more start-ups in 2015 (than in 2014). Slough recorded one of the top three highest increases in business start-ups with 35% growth.
  • Cities were home to 54% of all UK businesses in 2015. Between 2014 and 2015 the stock of businesses increased by 5% in the UK.  Looking at the past 10 years, business stock increased by almost a quarter nationally and by a third in cities.  Slough was placed second as the city with the fastest year on year growth in business at 12.5%. Over the last five years Slough has been the strongest performer seeing growth of 42%.  Behind only London (552) for business stock per capita, Reading has 464 businesses per 10,000 population.
  • Reading (2nd); Slough (7th) and Oxford (10th) all have some of the highest weekly workplace wages in the UK.

The UK needs to increase its exports to improve its productivity. Exports matter because exporters tend to be the drivers of productivity growth as a result of their greater ability to generate and absorb new innovations.  All three Thames Valley cities are ‘top-performers’ (those that have both above average exports per job and productivity) in the UK.

Paul Britton, Chief Executive of the Thames Valley Chamber commented: “the report is a strong statement on the strength and value the Thames Valley plays in the UK’s economy.  Investing in its continued success is vital if the UK is to achieve its wider economic objectives, post BREXIT, outlined most recently in the Industrial Strategy.   A policy focus (for the Government) on helping already successful regions and for those exporting businesses to expand into new markets would be the best way to support higher exports and contribute to higher productivity.”

“It’s timely that the report looks at the future of the economy, focusing on the export capabilities of our cities, especially in a post-EU Britain.   As all the region’s three cities are named in the top twelve for exports (per job) and productivity, it not only confirms our important position in contributing to the UK’s future economic prosperity but also puts the Thames Valley in a good position to maintain an economic lead come Brexit.”

To view the report click HERE.