Scotland business

Aberdeen slips down 'best cities' index

Aberdeen Image copyright John Lucas
Image caption Aberdeen was found to have below average scores for income distribution, house prices to earnings and work-life balance

Aberdeen has slipped down the rankings of the best UK cities in which to live and work as a result of the downturn in oil and gas, according to a new report.

The city dropped from fifth place to 10th in the Good Growth for Cities Index.

The index was compiled by business advisers PwC and think-tank Demos.

It evaluated the performance of 42 UK cities against a number of categories selected to measure economic success and personal and family wellbeing.

These included jobs, health, income, skills, work-life balance, house affordability, commuting times, income equality and pollution.

Aberdeen was found to score well on jobs, skills and income but had below-average scores for income distribution, house prices to earnings and work-life balance.

Edinburgh maintained its position as the third-highest placed city, despite a below-average ranking for transport, while Glasgow fell from 24th to 29th place.

Health 'questions'

The city still outperformed Newcastle, Birmingham and Sheffield but had below average scores for health and owner-occupation.

While Inverness was not included in the main index and therefore not ranked, it was found to have performed particularly well. It saw above average results in measures including jobs, transport, skills, income distribution and environment.

The report found that Scottish cities overall scored particularly well on elements such as skills, jobs and income.

However, they were mostly around or below average in other areas, particularly health.

On that issue, the report said: "This may raise some questions about the different ways in which the health services are organised in the devolved administrations, the extent of relationship between health outcomes and inputs (e.g. spending) and the likely impact of welfare reform on those currently not participating in the workforce."

Paul Brewer, from PwC in Scotland, said: "It was only a few years ago that Aberdeen was ranked second in the report but has now slipped to 10th place as the impact of the reorganisation of the North Sea oil and gas industry takes effect.

"As our recent Sea Change report highlighted, there is still opportunity in the oil basin but the city also needs to continue to explore other options to future-proof itself.

"Aberdeen does demonstrate its resilience as the only Scottish city to perform above average in terms of new businesses per head."

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