Leicester has been named the top performing city in the East Midlands according to a new report listing the best places to live and work.
The Good Growth for Cities Index, put Leicester at 14 out of 50 UK cities, which is compiled using economic wellbeing indicators such as work-life balance, environment, jobs, safety, income and health, rather than simply Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The report, published by Demos and PwC, found that Leicester ranked above average for work-life balance, income distribution and safety. It is the first to be done post-lockdown, which saw Leicester remain in lockdown longer than any other UK city. The city finished above Nottingham, Derby and Lincoln in the East Midlands and above Manchester, Liverpool Birmingham and Newcastle elsewhere in the UK.
“We’re emerging from the pandemic with a new set of priorities, largely focuses around fairness, the environment and work-life balance,” said Ali Breadon, senior partner for PwC in the East Midlands.
“In concert with the vision set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, local government, employers and leaders all have a part to play in providing opportunities for people to grow their businesses, careers, and skills in cities, towns and communities right across the East Midlands.”
She added: “We see a clear theme across Midlands cities of manufacturing, retail and real estate accounting for larger sections of our regional economies. As the research suggests, this contributes to a slightly below average overall rate of economic growth in the region.
“That in itself presents both challenges and opportunities for the local business community with the identification of growth opportunities.”
Manufacturing accounts for 16 per cent of Leicester’s economy, with real estate 12 per cent and wholesale and retail 11 per cent.
The 12 indicators which cities are assessed on are safety, income distribution, income, health, work-life balance, environment, transport, jobs, high street and shops, housing, skills and new businesses.
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.
Helen Donnellan, Pro Vice Chancellor Regional Business and Innovation at the city’s De Montfort University, said: “For Leicester to perform so strongly, particularly after such a long period in lockdown is a real testament to the strength and depth of our businesses.
“DMU is a champion for businesses in the region,” she added.
“We’re working hard to create more graduate job opportunities here in Leicester for our students, and collaborating with partners such as East Midlands Chamber and the LLEP to support economic growth and address challenges such as the digital skills gap.”
Business Gateway Manager, Rachel York, said: “It’s very heartening to see the city and county recognised as a great place to start and grow a business. It’s our job to make sure that this potential is realised – particularly in such challenging times globally.”