Preston is on the up yet again, according to a major new study.
The city has continued its positive momentum from last year’s ‘most improved city’ status, by being named the highest performing North West city overall this year - higher than Liverpool and Manchester.
It climbed one place to 12th in the league table of UK cities according to the Good Growth for Cities study by PwC (PriceWaterhouseCooper).
Preston Council chiefs and business leaders said they were very encouraged by another strong showing for the city.
The report said that as a whole, cities in the North West performed well on the following criteria;
* Work- life balance – where all cities in the region perform abovethe national average;
* House price to earnings – where all but one city (Birkenhead) score above the UK average
* Jobs – where all cities in the North West score above or around the UK average.
Mark Whittle, of Preston City Centre Business Improvement District, said he was delighted with the findings.
He said: “There’s a lot of great things happening in Preston, not least city centre investment in the UCLan Masterplan, cinema project and new leisure brands choosing to locate here.
“More widely, the continued Government investment in the City Deal and the Western Distributor Link Road will add to Preston’s appeal, as a great place in which to work, live visit and invest.
Mark added: “Preston is clearly an evolving city - the public and private sectors need to continue working together to attract investment and ensure Preston’s future is dynamic.”
Preston City Council chief executive Adrian Phillips added: “We are really pleased to see the results of this report highlight the continued great progress we have made, and are still making in Preston.
“This success is based on practical policies to build wealth for the whole community collaboratively with a number of partners.
“Employment, health, income and skills are important factors for economic success and wellbeing and we are proud to receive national recognition for the improvement in these areas that has been made in the city in the last 12 months.
“These developments improve the lives and prosperity of all Preston residents.
“There is still much work to be done, but we are up to the challenge and continue to invest in a future to benefit everyone.”
Adam Waller, PwC’s Manchester Office SeniorPartner said: “It’s pleasing to see cities like Preston, Liverpool and Manchester continuing to make a positive impact within this year;s index which is testament to the vibrant and sustainable economy which is being created across the North West.
“Building and creating ongoing working relationships between business, Combined Authoritiesand LEP’s is vital to ensure that this positive momentum ismaintained.
“It’s essential that in order for the region to prosper post-Brexit we all need to ensure weplay our part.”
Rob Beacham, co-founder of Bistrot Pierre which has moved into Preston, said the company was delighted with its first year in the city and not surprised that it had made such a good showing in the league table.
He added: “We’ve had a fantastic first year in Preston so we’re not surprised that the city has moved up in the Good Growth for Cities report, as the local economy continues to grow.
“We feel very privileged to be serving food in a stunning, historically significant building in an incredible city.
“We’ve had a fantastic first year here, and are looking forward to many, many more.”
*The annual Good Growth for Cities sets out to show there’s more to economic well-being than just measuring GDP. The index measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and ten Combined Authorities, against a basket of 10 factors which the public think are most important when it comes to economic well-being.
These include jobs, health, income and skills, as well as work-life balance, house-affordability, travel-to-work times, income equality,environment and business start-ups.
Preston is given a rating of 0.57 in the survey, placing it 12th out of 42 cities.ends
Cities as ranked by PwC
5. Milton Keynes