Reading tops the Good Growth City Index 2016

Reading remains top of the annual Good Growth for Cities Index, published today (8 November 2016). The index, produced by PwC and Demos, is a barometer that shows how improving economic fundamentals like rising employment, new business formation and increasing skills can also improve quality of life measures, such as work-life balance, property prices and health.

PwCGoodGrowth2016reportPwC report that: “Reading, with Oxford, remains at the top of the index. A substantial gap has opened up between these two cities and the rest, reflecting their continued improvement in jobs, income, skills and new businesses.”

The fifth annual Good Growth for Cities index measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships and the new Combined Authorities against a basket of categories defined by the public and business as key to local socio-economic success. Moving beyond a simple measure of productivity (GVA), the 10 factors comprising the index include jobs, health, income and skills, work-life balance, house-affordability, travel-to-work times, income equality and pollution, as well as business start-ups (new this year).

Nigel Horton Baker, Executive Director of Reading UK CIC, the economic development and marketing company for Reading, said: “Reading continues to outperform all the core cities in the UK, particularly in areas such as jobs, health, skills, income and the creation of new businesses. While there is room for improvement particularly in areas such as affordable housing, the recent investments in transport, the decision on the future of Heathrow and the town’s developing reputation as a cultural destination will make Reading an increasingly attractive proposition for business in the future.”

Reading’s performance in the Good Growth Index compared to the city average:-

  • High rating:– jobs, health, new businesses, owner occupation, skills (16-24 and 25+), income and environment.
  • Average rating: – income distribution
  • Lower than average rating: – work life balance, house price to earnings and transport

Reading ranks much higher than London which is only 15th in the index. While the capital performs well in categories such as income and new businesses, it compares much less well in other areas such as housing affordability, transport and work life balance.  

The report is available at


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