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2 December, 2018 - 23:46 By Kate Sweeney

Cambridge and Norwich in PwC Good Growth for Cities Index

Cambridge and Norwich each make the top six in the PwC Good Growth for Cities Index, which is an acid test of the factors that drive productive economic zones and quality of life.

Cambridge is fourth in the South East and Norwich sixth. The bad news is that they still have some catching up to do on the top three – Oxford, Reading and Southampton.

Cambridge is above the average for all UK cities in terms of job creation, income, health services, new businesses per head of population, skills and environment. 

But it dips below the national average in terms of work-life balance, house prices to earnings, transport and income distribution – none of which factors will surprise avid campaigners for improved infrastructure in Europe’s leading science & technology hotspot. The city is around the national average in the other metric used – owner-occupation.

Norwich is only above the UK average for jobs but hits the median for all other factors except work-life balance and house price to earnings.

Breaking the figures down still further, both Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough and New Anglia LEPs fall way below the best index value and house price to earnings numbers. These were among factors recognised as major drags on economic growth for the region in the recently published CPIER report.

Sian Steele, who heads up PwC in Cambridge, said: “The way we approached the Good Growth for Cities research was to engage lots of stakeholders, engage the public, engage business, engage officials and experts. 

“Our citizens juries were developed with Britain Thinks to understand in depth what the public thought about in terms of economic success.

“In Cambridge you see rich, diverse and innovative Life Sciences, Biopharma, Agri-Tech and AI sectors and this has really pushed the local economy in a positive way.”

PwC itself is in the process of upscaling with a move from Abacus House in Cambridge to the new Maurice Wilkes Building at St John’s Innovation Park, alongside such technology innovators as Darktrace and Raspberry Pi.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Sian Steele of PwC

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