Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh and Aberdeen ranked in 'UK's top cities'

Edinburgh

Edinburgh and Aberdeen are among the top 10 places to live and work, according to an index of UK cities.

Across the UK this year's index shows a continuing gap between the highest performing cities of Oxford and Reading and the lowest ranking, Swansea and Sunderland.

The Scottish capital has slipped from fourth to sixth, as housing affordability has caused challenges.

Aberdeen climbed from 11 to nine in the rankings, with Glasgow at 25.

The Good Growth for Cities Index, run by PwC, measures the performance of 42 of the UK's largest towns and cities.

The index aims to show there is more to life, work and general wellbeing than simply measuring GDP.

Which places make it into the top 10?

  1. Oxford
  2. Reading
  3. Southampton
  4. Milton Keynes
  5. Bristol
  6. Edinburgh
  7. Swindon
  8. Coventry
  9. Aberdeen
  10. Leicester

The 42 cities are measured against 10 indicators based on public views of what is key to economic success and wellbeing.

In UK terms, even the cities towards the bottom of the index have improved significantly with Swansea demonstrating the greatest improvements in employment and environmental factors.

PwC Scotland's Lindsay Gardiner said: "Edinburgh remains one of the best cities in the UK to live and do business.

"The announcement of the £1.3bn City Deal for the region will help the city futureproof itself in a world being rapidly altered by technology.

"While Edinburgh continues to perform above average in fields like jobs, income and skills, this index highlights some challenges, not least of which is housing affordability. This provides evidence that Edinburgh is paying the price of its success."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The report found Aberdeen is bouncing back after the oil and gas industry downturn

Kevin Reynard, senior partner for PwC in Aberdeen, said: "There has been much talk about Aberdeen's recovery from the downturn in the oil and gas industry, and this year's index reinforces that this recovery is gaining momentum.

"We are now beginning to see the positive effects of the higher range of oil prices.

"What is more encouraging is to see Aberdeen return to the top 10 cities in the UK. With the city the best performing in Scotland in six of 12 measures used, it is clear Aberdeen is a fantastic city with much to offer."

Health performing poorly

According to the index, employment, health, income and skills are held to be the most important factors.

Housing affordability, commuting times, environmental factors and income inequality were also included, as was the number of new business start-ups.

Scotland's poorest performing variable was health, with all Scottish cities at or below the UK average.

Work-life balance, as defined by the percentage of those working more than 45 hours per week, has seen an improvement.

New businesses, job creation, skills development and work-life balance have been the key long-term drivers of growth in Scotland's largest cities since the financial crisis.

Despite being in the bottom half of the index, Glasgow was above average in job-creation, skills and work-life balance as above average as compared to the rest of the 42 UK cities in the index.

Nevertheless, the latest edition shows all three main Scottish cities outperforming the UK in terms of jobs, skills, income and environment.

David Brown, head of government and public sector for PwC in Scotland, said: "Scotland's cities are in a stronger position today than prior to the financial downturn, and that is thanks to the country having continued to invest in jobs and skills."

Mr Brown added: "There remain challenges in our cities, however. There is a widening gap between earnings and house prices, which keeps owner occupier rates down.

"Scotland continues to score either at or below average when it comes to health."

Decade of data

With 10 years of data to draw upon, the index can chart a decade of changes across Scotland's cities since the global economic downturn.

Image copyright PwC

Edinburgh and Glasgow have increased their index scores by 0.31 and 0.45 respectively since 2005-07, well ahead of the UK average increase of 0.29 - driven, according to the report, by an improvement in skills among 25 to 64-year-olds.

Glasgow has seen a improvement in the new businesses, jobs and health variables.

Edinburgh has also seen an improvement in new businesses compared with 10 years ago, however the city has seen a widening of the gap between house prices and earnings.

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