Swindon is one of the best urban areas to live and work according to the Good Growth for Cities 2018 index – a recent report by the multinational auditing firm, PwC.
The index – which measures the current performance of 42 of the largest UK cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the nine Combined Authorities on a combination of economic performance and quality of life – placed Swindon seventh in the ‘highest ranking urban areas’ category (relating to the period of 2015 -17.)
The cities were measured against ten categories based on factors judged to be “key to economic success and wellbeing,” including employment, health, income and skills.
Published on 1 November, the report also placed Swindon at ninth in the ‘Top 10 Improvers’ category.
John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said: “Almost all UK cities have seen improved good growth scores in recent years, driven primarily by cyclical falls in unemployment rates that have now rippled out from the South East of England to regions like the North East that were previously lagging behind.
“But the more interesting perspective is provided when we look at the whole decade from 2005-7 to 2015-17, which covers a full economic cycle and therefore allows us to identify deeper structural trends. The good news here is that successive cohorts of young workers have higher average skill levels, which is pushing up index scores together with rising rates of new business creation in most cities.”
However, John added that the flip side of this success has been “worsening housing affordability and consequent falls in homeownership rates precisely for those young people who have invested in acquiring new skills.”
Paul Britton, CEO at the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce remarked that he was “really pleased” to see Swindon placed as a ‘Top-10 improver.’
He added: “This is a position that can only be strengthened by projects like the Western Rail Link to London Heathrow and Crossrail, bringing Swindon within the magic one-hour of the airport.”