Reading in UK Top 2 for Good Growth

For the fourth year in a row, Oxford and Reading have ranked as the top performing UK cities on PwC’s Good Growth for Cities 2019 index.

The annual Good Growth for Cities 2019 index sets out to show there is more to life, work and general wellbeing than simply measuring GDP. It measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and ten Combined Authorities, against a basket of 10 factors which the public think are most important when it comes to economic well being. These include jobs, health, income and skills, as well as work-life balance, house-affordability, travel-to-work times, income equality, environment and  business start-ups.

Oxford and Reading have topped the index for the past four years, reflecting consistent improvement across the board. 

Reading's performance is driven by its high scoring within jobs, income, new businesses, owner occupation, skills of 25+ and environment. Reading is also the top performer on health and second only to Cambridge on jobs. 

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK, said: “Reading has consistently ranked in the top two cities for good growth since PwC launched the Index in 2005 and has made further progress this year in terms of jobs, income, new businesses, the skill set of the over 25s, owner occupation and environment.

“One of Reading’s key offers to business is the talent pool available locally. This continues to be an important part of Reading’s success, with over 50% educated to degree level or above. Reading is less successful with regard to the skill levels of 16-24 olds, which remains a relatively small but serious issue for those affected. Reading UK has been working hard to address this through the delivery of Employment and Skills Plans, connecting employers with local schools and supporting STEM projects within schools. We are now working with partners to ensure that every 16 and 17 year old in Reading has access to work experience and solid careers advice.”

The index has revealed some challenges for South East cities, particularly the affordability of housing. All South East cities are below the index average for house price to earnings,  suggesting the area is becoming increasingly unaffordable. Although Reading has maintained its position in this year’s index, it has seen a decline in overall index score, driven predominantly by poorer house price to earnings ratios.

Good Growth for Cities South East

John Ellis, PwC Reading Office Senior Partner, said:

“The strong performance of both Oxford and Reading in the PwC Good Growth for Cities index follows increasing levels of available jobs, growing incomes, and a diversity of skills in the city. Growth is visible throughout the Thames Valley, particularly since the Oxford- Milton Keynes -Cambridge Arc has become a major UK focus.

“At PwC we recognise the region’s potential, and have been investing in the Thames Valley. This year we have launched a new ‘Frontier’ hub, where clients and staff can experience innovative technology to solve problems."

A copy of the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities index 2019 can be downloaded from

The Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities index 2019 measures the current performance of 42 of the largest UK cities against a basket of 10 indicators that - based on the views of the public – are seen as critical to economic success and wellbeing. Employment, health, income and skills are the most important of these factors, as judged by the public, but housing affordability, commuting times, environmental factors and income inequality are also included in the index.



Web design by Tribal Systems