Berkshire: Reading retains top spot as UK’s most successful economic city

A national measure of economic success, the Good Growth for Cities Index 2015, launched today by PwC and Demos, has ranked Reading and Bracknell as the UK’s top place to live and work for the third consecutive year. 

The report’s author, Nick Jones, director of PwC’s Public Sector Research Centre, will be presenting the first analysis of Reading’s strong performance at this evening’s Reading Economic Forum at Reading Town Hall to a local business audience, hosted by Reading UK CIC.

The Good Growth Index 2015 measures the current performance of 39 cities on a range of measures wider than just economic output, and captures the characteristics of cities which the UK public consider important for judging medium to long-term economic success. The Index scores show that the Reading and Bracknell area retains the top spot with particular strengths in job creation, salaries, health, owner occupation, skills and environment (levels of pollution).

Nigel Horton Baker, executive director of Reading UK CIC, the economic development and marketing company for Reading, said: “Reading continues to outperform all the core cities in the UK as a successful economy with our highly-skilled workforce, good salaries and health being particularly important factors in this success. The report points to structural, long-term factors as responsible for this continuity but it also includes a clear message that Reading needs to continue to invest to stay ahead.

“A key theme of Reading UK CIC’s Reading Economic Forum this evening will be identifying the local investment priorities required to maintain our ability to attract a highly-skilled workforce and new businesses to Reading. Commuter times to Reading have increased by 20% in the past decade and ongoing local investment in transport and housing, in particular, are vital if we are to remain competitive in the long term. We cannot rest on our laurels. A strong public/private partnership at the heart of our economy is key to ensuring future good growth.”

 The Good Growth for Cities Index concentrates on 10 key elements of economic wellbeing and success:

  • Access to jobs
  • Good health (so as to be able to work and earn a living)
  • Income
  • Skills
  • Work-life balance
  • Housing
  • Sectoral balance of the economy
  • Income distribution
  • Transport
  • Environment