A new report from professional services network PwC ranks Southampton as one of the UK’s top cities for well-being and economic growth.
The Good Growth for Cities report, which takes several different economic and social features into account, has placed Southampton third in the UK, beaten only by Oxford and Reading. This is Southampton’s third consecutive year as one of the UK’s top cities.
The report places a heavy emphasis on the high quality of life of the city’s population, as well as the economic growth of the city as a whole. In order to determine the ranking of each city, ten different factors are taken into account: income equality, health, housing affordability, jobs, income, work-life balance, environment, skills, travel-to-work times and business start-ups. The 2019 report saw Southampton’s score for work-life balance rise, while maintaining its high scores in sustainability, diversity of skills and income improvement.
Southampton has undergone a number of changes in recent years. Last year saw the relocation of the John Hansard art gallery to the city centre, with up-to-date facilities and a new, more modern image. Also in 2018, Nuffield Southampton Theatres opened a second venue in the city centre, reflecting the growing interest in the arts in Southampton.
Sandy Hopkins, chief executive of Southampton City Council, stated that:
‘Our local economy performed better than any other city on the South Coast during the second quarter of 2019, according to last month’s UK Powerhouse report. Our consistently high position in PwC’s Good Growth for Cities index shows that our strong GDP growth is being achieved in a way that also offers economic well-being and stability for residents.’
This high ranking in the Good Growth for Cities report, combined with recent cultural developments and next years Mayflower 400 celebrations, means that hopes are high for Southampton’s bid for UK City of Culture in 2025.