With an ambition to deliver “an economy that works for all” the Government has signalled a commitment to inclusive growth. Yet this, in turn, means economic success should be judged in new ways. Demos and PwC’s Good Growth for Index has long recognised this social dimension, weighting our measure of inclusive growth with a qualitative assessment of what citizens themselves consider to be economic wellbeing and success.
This year’s results see Oxford and Reading top the index for the second year running; strong improvement for the Metro mayor cities – Birmingham is the most improved city; and, more broadly, cities in the Midlands and the North of England beginning to narrow the gap with the South. Overall every city in the index improved on last year’s score.
However, this year’s index also highlights how many UK cities continue to suffer ‘price of success’ issues, characterised by declining scores for work-life balance, transport, health and housing affordability. Crucially, the last of these – housing affordability – is the measurement that has fallen most significantly this year, overall.
This highlights some of the ongoing challenges faced by those UK cities where economic growth has outstripped infrastructure and public service capacity. If cities are to sustain the strong performance of this year, they should put a priority on delivering place-based growth that is inclusive on the social dimension too, addressing key supply side constraints such as housing and transport infrastructure. Further devolution of powers in areas such as health and social care, skills and infrastructure would also help, as well as re-booting the stalled devolution process.
To read the report via the PwC website, please click here.