Southampton and Portsmouth among best in the UK

Friday December 13th, 2019


Portsmouth and Southampton are among the best in the UK to live and work according to a recent report by PwC.

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.

The South East has consistently performed strongly, with Southampton and Portsmouth frequently achieving a top 10 position and Oxford and Reading topping the index for the last four years.

This year’s index has shown strong income growth across the South East, as well as improvements in health, the environment and new businesses per head. Six out of eight cities in the South East have scored above the UK average.

PwC partner and local government leader Jonathan House, commented: “The UK’s cities are known globally for their skills, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Our most successful cities know that they don’t compete against other UK cities, they compete against cities across Europe, the Middle East and the US. As the UK’s position on the world stage shifts, cities and regions will need to reposition themselves too, and consider how they can stand out and compete globally, improve productivity and support innovation, while also creating places that are fair and inclusive.”

The South East’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) also perform strongly, with seven out of 10 areas scoring above the UK average. The top four positions are made up by South East LEP’s – Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Enterprise M3 and Thames Valley Berkshire, driven by high scores in skills, jobs and incomes.

Keith Harrington, PwC South East regional leader, said: “It’s fantastic to see that Oxford, Reading and Southampton have ranked as the UK’s top performing cities for the third year in a row. It shows that despite changing business climates, South East cities are continuing to grow. At PwC we’ve been investing in our South East practice, recognising the huge opportunities the region presents”.


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