Leicester has been named the best city in the East Midlands in which to live and work, according to this year’s Good Growth for Cities Index.
The annual study examines the UK’s 50 largest cities and ranks them according to factors including work/life balance, health, numbers of new businesses starting, the environment and retail.
Leicester was the highest-performing city in the East Midlands, and was placed 16th in the index. It performed well for overall economic growth, and scored above the UK average in work-life balance, new businesses, transport, skills across all age groups, income distribution and safety. It was in line with the UK average on jobs, health, owner-occupier rates and the environment.
Derby was next highest at 24, Nottingham 38th and Northamptonshire 42nd in the report, compiled by accountants PwC. All the cities in the East Midlands were placed higher than Newcastle, Birmingham and Manchester.
Helen Donnellan, PVC Regional Business and Innovation at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), said: “This is great news for the city.
“Leicester has a lot to offer in terms of support for new businesses, its transport links, and I think many companies have adapted to remote working in a way which has helped their employees’ work-life balance.
“We still have work to do to address issues such as skills but we do so collaboratively, working with employers, the public sector and education partners to ensure we can equip people with the skills they will need to grow their careers and for companies to expand and support our economy.”
The report identifies skills as a key focus for the region, and highlights investment in growing sectors such as agritech, medical technologies, automotive and aerospace as crucial to increasing opportunities for growth.
The five top factors used were income distribution, income, safety, work life balance and jobs. Leicester ranked well for income distribution, making it a fairer place to live when it comes to wages as there is not a big gap between the highest and lowest earners.
DMU supports companies through training and CPD, developing new products and services working with academic experts and runs programmes such as Help to Grow, which enables SMEs to grow their companies through leadership skills development.
The university is also helping to raise the city’s graduate retention rate by working with Leicester City Council to provide placements and job opportunities in the city and county, boosting the numbers of skilled workers in the region.
Its support for start-ups and new businesses encompasses student start-up support through to graduate business incubation programmes and offering mentoring and masterclasses to microbusinesses and networking.
Alex Hudson, Market Senior Partner for PwC East Midlands, said: “The outlook in the East Midlands is a positive one, and it’s pleasing to see our cities generally fairing well in our analysis this year. Aligned with the government’s Levelling Up agenda, local government and employers have a part to play in providing opportunities for people to grow their businesses, careers and skills right across the region.
“That said, the report highlights some areas in which the East Midlands performs behind the UK average, including income and house prices, as well as weaker predicted economic growth. This should be used as a map of opportunity, showing where continued support can have a real impact on improving aspects identified by the public as priorities. The East Midlands will also benefit from the recently announced investment zones, where we will receive £80m of support over five years.
“PwC is continually investing in the East Midlands, using our convening power to bring together businesses and government to make positive changes for the region. Working collaboratively and focussing on some key areas for growth, such as the skills agenda, will lead to improvement across the board for the region.”
Stoke, Peterborough and Plymouth are the most improved cities. The factors are decided through a poll of 1,000 people surveyed across the country which asked them which are the most important to them in considering where to live and work.
Posted on Thursday 25th May 2023