Stoke-on-Trent has made it onto a list detailing the best and worst cities in the UK for quality of life and economic performance…but this time it’s sneaked into the BEST CATEGORY as our city was ranked 19th out of 39 cities detailed in PWC’s ‘Good Growth for Cities Report.’ We’ve managed to surpass some of the UK’s core cities including Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester and perhaps most surprisingly of all, London. But what does this ranking actually reveal about the city of Stoke-on-Trent?
PWC (the fifth largest privately-owned firm in the USA) in partnership with Demos (a cross-party think tank) have released an annual “Good Growth for Cities Report” for the past 3 years and 2015 is no different. While PWC as a corporation appear to have made a few questionable decisions regarding ethical operating, this report provides a comprehensive summary of what economic success looks like beyond traditional indicators like GVA (Gross Value Added) by taking a more holistic analysis of a variety of variables.
For example, in the case of Stoke-on-Trent, the only indicator for which the city is below average compared to other UK cities is skills, yet it has exceeded the national city average in areas like ‘jobs,’ ‘owner occupation’ and ‘sectoral balance.’ In other words, we’re currently succeeding in terms of jobs provision and maintaining a balance of industrial sectors across our local economy but need to pay particular attention to increasing and broadening our skill set and qualifications. The ‘Implications’ chapter of the report highlights the importance of improving the skills of a city’s population as not only do they contribute to a higher economic performance overall, but they also help to build the resilience of a city and better its response to periods of economic uncertainty.
Good Growth for Cities 2015 goes on to propose a number of different actions that can be taken in order to consolidate and further the economic growth seen in UK cities. The focus on ‘the investment in the assets of a place’ seems to be particularly relevant for Stoke. We have so many ‘assets’ that we could capitalise on and share with the rest of the UK- it’s about time we started blowing our own trumpet! Beautiful pottery is still made here (another plug for Emma Bridgewater!) and remnants of our industrial heritage contribute to a truly unique landscape, to name but a few!
For me, this publication serves as the perfect reminder that Stoke-on-Trent has a lot to offer and that we should be proud of the significant progress that we’re making as a city.
To access a copy of the Good Growth for Cities Report 2015: http://www.pwc.co.uk/industries/government-public-sector/good-growth/good-growth-for-cities-our-report-on-economic-wellbeing-in-uk-urban-areas.html
To access a copy of the Midlands highlights of the GGCR 2015: http://pwc.blogs.com/files/good-growth-for-cities-2015-midlands-factsheet-3.pdf