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8 November, 2017 - 13:07 By Tony Quested

Cambridge pays price for being a UK top city with acute growing pains

Sian Steele PwC

The price Cambridge is paying for being one of the UK’s most prosperous economic centres has been revealed by new PwC research.

Cambridge is ranked seventh out of 42 UK cities in terms of economic prosperity but rather than being a case of seventh heaven some aspects for residents are more a case of a living hell.

PwC says the price of success is reduced housing affordability and increased average commuting times and says there is a critical need for local industrial strategies that address housing, transport and skills gaps.

The curate’s egg of a report comes in the latest Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities index which measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships and the nine Combined Authorities against a basket of 10 indicators based on the views of the public as to what is key to economic success and wellbeing.

These include employment, health, income and skills – the most important factors, as judged by the public – while housing affordability, commuting times, environmental factors and income inequality are also included, as is the number of new business starts.

Cambridge scores highly for in terms of jobs, incomes, health, new businesses per head and skills – however it is experiencing growing pressures on housing affordability, income distribution and work-life balance.

The biggest decrease in score for Cambridge was seen for house prices to earnings. This comes as no surprise given the issue of housing affordability in Cambridge and the South East in general.

Sian Steele, senior partner at PwC Cambridge, said: “It’s great news that Cambridge ranks relatively highly in the index compared to other UK cities. Cambridge is a city that fosters innovation, has a wealth of highly skilled jobs in the life sciences and tech sectors and supports business start-ups.

“However, the index highlights housing affordability and work life balance as the ‘price of success’. To ensure the city continues to enjoy economic prosperity the public and private sectors need to continue to work together to address infrastructure issues to overcome these barriers to growth.”


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