London is lagging behind other UK cities as a place to live and work, according to a new report, due largely to its very high cost of living.
Oxford was deemed the best place to live and work in the UK for the fourth year in a row in the report from professional services firm PwC and think tank Demos. Reading came second and Southampton came third.
The report measured cities against a number of criteria that the public think most important to economic wellbeing. These include jobs, health, house-affordability and environment.
PwC and Demos said there was a strong link between cities’ scores and income growth. Yet it said wealthier cities were “typically seeing lower scores in the areas of housing affordability and ownership and commuting times – particularly in the case of London”.
The capital came 16th on the list, one place lower than its position last year. In 2016, the median London house price was 13 times higher than the median average earnings in the city, compared to six times in Yorkshire.
Oxford extended its lead as the number one city this year. This “reflects continued improvement across a range of measures, including work-life balance, skills, income and transport,” the report said.
“Oxford also performs strongly across jobs and health, scoring within the top five cities for both of these variables.”
The report will add to concerns that a number of wealthy, southern cities are pulling away from the rest of the country in terms of living standards and the wellbeing of residents. Seven out of the top 10 ranked cities are in the south of England.
PwC and Demos said Bradford was the “most-improved” city, however. This was “driven by jobs, work-life balance and skills amongst its over 25-year-olds,” the report said.
“Bradford has experienced a large reduction in its unemployment rate, measured at 4.1 per cent in 2018 compared to 10 per cent in 2015.”
PwC partner and local government leader Jonathan House said: “In an era of political, technological and environmental disruption, cities and regions that want to get ahead, need to do things differently.”
“Our research shows the need to take a comprehensive approach to growth, focusing on improving productivity to compete on a global stage, but also on ensuring fairness and inclusive growth so that people and places don’t feel left behind.”
(Image credit: Getty)