Derry... a most improved city for growth.
A growth table of UK cities has revealed Derry is the most improved small city over the last 12 months.
The creation of jobs and environmental improve- ments are identified in Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Good Growth for Cities Index as the strongest areas of improvement.
However, whilst the city has improved it remains at the bottom of a table of 11 smaller cities across Scotland, Wales and the North.
Published last week, the index sets out to show that there’s more to life, work and general wellbeing than just measuring the money generated by a city.
The index checks the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and ten Combined Authorities, against a basket of ten indicators based on the views of the public on what constitutes 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 start-ups.
Derry saw above average growth in income distribution compared to the 11 cities in the devolved nations on the list, as well as improvements in new jobs, income, new businesses, skills and a reduction in carbon emissions.
Health is a standout feature in terms of below average scores across the devolved cities, measured by the percentage of the population who are economically inactive or deemed to have long-term sickness. The North has seen a decrease in score since last year with more than half (56%) of those who were unemployed in August falling into the one year or more category – compared to a quarter in the UK. Only Aberdeen measured better than the average in the index.
David Quinn, PwC NI Partner, said Derry's City Deal should bring further improvements: “With two City Deals now on the table for Northern Ireland, there is a critical window of opportunity for stakeholders to work collaboratively on a shared and credible economic future and seize the potential in these large-scale investments.
"With Belfast and Derry performing well in terms of bringing in new jobs, it’s important that lessons learned from achieving this goal are now applied to other areas.
“Successful city planning involves creating high-density urban centres and, with ambitions to move 66,000 people into Belfast by 2035, the way people here live and work could be radically transformed.
“One of the crucial areas will be in continuing to support the growth in skills, which feeds into the creation of new businesses. The appetite for upskilling among workers as well as employers proactively investing in their workforce – particularly during the uncertainty around Brexit - means we’re on the front foot to benefit from employability pro- grammes funded by the City Deals.”
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