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Preston named best city to live in the North West

Written by on January 23, 2021

Preston has been named as the best city to live and work in the North West – beating Manchester and Liverpool.

Data gathered by the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index rated the Lancashire city on top based on 10 indicators that the public think are most important, including jobs, health and housing.

The Good Growth for Cities Index measures the performance of the UK’s largest cities and also looked at what the post-coronavirus recovery prospects are like for 2021.

The pandemic has changed many things, but the public’s priorities have largely stayed the same.

Preston remains the highest performing city in the north-west, for the second time, and scored above average across a number of categories the public think are most important when it comes to jobs, health, housing, income, skills, transport, income distribution, work-life balance, the environment and business start-ups.

The city has been recognised for its resilience to the continued Covid-19 pandemic, with a lower proportion of employees in the city being furloughed as part of the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CRJS) in comparison to other cities in the region.

Preston ranked 16th overall in the 2021 Good Growth for Cities index, which measures the performance of 42 UK cities – which also included Liverpool, Manchester and Birkenhead.

Cllr Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “I am delighted that Preston has maintained its position as the best city to live and work in the North West. This report also shows that our city has pulled together to endure the pandemic and gives me great optimism that we will be in a strong position to recover and grow.

This success links closely to the significant improvement on our local economy we continuously strive for through the Preston Model and our Community Wealth Building Agenda. Underpinning our support for the economic and social well-being of all Prestonians by building a richer and more democratic economy in Preston. I am particularly pleased to see above average improvements in income inequality, jobs, environment, work life balance and housing affordability.

“Our city has enjoyed a remarkable story of growth and innovation and I look forward to that continuing once we emerge from this pandemic.”

How did Preston score in each category?

Preston scored highly for jobs, work-life balance, owner occupation and skills.

It received negative scores for health, income, and skills.

This graphic below shows how Preston scored in each area that was judged:



How Preston performed in Good Growth Index

 

Where did other places in the North West rank?

The lowest performing city is Liverpool, ranking 25th out of 42 cities.

As a whole, cities in the North West perform well on the following criteria:

  • Work-life balance, where all cities in the region perform above the national average.
  • House price to earnings, where all cities score above the UK average.
  • Jobs, where all cities in the North West score above or around the UK average.
    However, the North West performs less well on skills and environment.

Cities across the North West perform very differently across the index, reflecting the individual challenges that each city faces.

When assessing the potential economic impact of Covid-19, it was the average annual economic impact on cities in the North West region is -11.9% in 2020, the lowest rate out of all regions and lower than the UK average rate of -11.0% in 2020.

But research shows that Liverpool and Manchester in particular are badly affected, with Liverpool being the worst hit of all cities in the index with a GVA growth rate of -13.3% in 2020.

Economic recoveries in 2021 are expected to range between 4.8% and 5.4% for all cities in the North West region excluding Birkenhead.

The highest take-up rate of the furlough scheme in this region is found in Salford and Manchester authorities, which had 9.0% and 9.5% of its workers respectively on the scheme on 31 October 2020.

Good Growth Index scores:

Preston: 0.54

Birkenhead: 0.48

Manchester: 0.46

Warrington & Wigan: 0.45

Liverpool: 0.37

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