Southampton ranks third again on PwC’s Good Growth for Cities index

Thursday January 28th, 2021

ABP Southampton Freeports

ABP Southampton


For the third year in a row, Southampton has been ranked the third performing UK city on PwC’s Good Growth for Cities 2019 index, topped only by Oxford and Reading.


The annual Good Growth for Cities 2019 sets out to show there is more to life, work and general wellbeing 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.

Since the index began 11 years ago, Southampton has consistently made the top 10, and for the last three years, it’s achieved third place. This is following strong performances in income improvements, diversity of skills and the creation of sustainable environments.

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

South Eastern cities in index | Place on index:

  • Oxford – 1
  • Reading – 2
  • Southampton – 3
  • Cambridge – 9
  • Portsmouth – 17
  • Brighton – 20
  • Medway – 27
  • Southend – 33

The index has revealed some challenges for the South East, 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.

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.

Julian Gray, PwC Southampton Office Senior Partner, said:  “It’s fantastic to see Southampton once again rank in third place in PwC’s Good Growth for Cities index. Across the city, the private and public sector are successfully working together to stimulate growth, and enhance the city’s commercial, cultural and civic life.

“The city faces some challenges, such as jobs, quality of transport, and health. At PwC we are working alongside the Solent LEP to develop the Solent Local Industrial Strategy, which will shape the long-term future of the region, and stimulate new opportunities and growth across the Solent.

“With highly skilled workers, an abundance of research and development activity, and the home of major institutions such as Southampton University and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton is a dynamic, vibrant area, and an attractive place to invest, live and work.”




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