Scotland

Aberdeen and Edinburgh highlighted in city economies report

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Aberdeen and Edinburgh are among the top 10 UK cities for their high wages and low welfare payments ratio, according to a report from a think tank.

The Centre for Cities said the Granite City and the Scottish capital were both doing well because of high-skilled jobs.

But it warned that competitive salaries were also driving up housing costs.

No Scottish cities were in the top 10 for "low-wage, high-welfare" economies.

The 2016 report - described as a "health check" for the 63 largest UK cities - focused on Chancellor George Osborne's vow to build a "higher wage, lower welfare" economy, as set out in the Summer Budget 2015.

It argued that nearly a million new jobs had been created in cities since 2010 - but that the average salary had also dropped by £1,300 per resident.

'High-wage, low-welfare'

London topped the list of "high-wage, low-welfare" city economies, with an average weekly salary of £629 and welfare spend per capita of £3,045.

Aberdeen sat at number four with an average weekly salary in 2014 of £548 and welfare spend of £2,513. Edinburgh was eighth, with figures of £524 and £2,809, respectively.

The think tank said the two areas' ability to attract high-skilled jobs - in the oil and professional services industries for example - was the key to their success.

It argued that cities with high wages had seen faster jobs growth, with employment rising by 10% since 2010, compared with 3% in low-wage cities.

But it also found welfare spending had grown at a much faster rate in high-wage cities, with benefit payments more than 50% higher than in other places.

The report attributed this largely to high demand for housing, resulting in increased housing benefit payments.

The report added that welfare spending in high-wage places like Milton Keynes and Cambridge had risen by 4% since 2010, but had fallen in low-wage cities like Liverpool and Glasgow.

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