Reading, for the third consecutive year, is in second place, according to the annual Demos/PwC Good Growth for Cities Index.
Southampton was third, followed by Bristol and Milton Keynes. Bradford was named the most improved city. Liverpool jumped three places since last year to come second, with Norwich just behind.
The index measures the performance of cities against 10 factors, which PwC says the public think are most important when it comes to economic wellbeing. 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.
Top 10 cities for growth 2019
5. Milton Keynes
Top 10 most-improved cities 2019
7. Wolverhampton & Walsall
“In an era of political, technological and environmental disruption, cities and regions that want to get ahead, need to do things differently. Even with the uncertainty of Brexit, over the last year, local leaders have had significant success in delivering good growth in their cities and regions,” said PwC partner and local government leader Jonathan House.
“Our research shows the need to take a comprehensive approach to growth, focusing on improving productivity to compete on a global stage, but also on ensuring fairness and inclusive growth so that people and places don’t feel left behind.
“Local leaders need to take a broad view on what economic success means, focusing on the outcomes they want to achieve in terms of inclusive growth, community resilience and improved experience, and crucially, having a plan to translate those ambitions into reality".
There are negative long-term trends, particularly relating to deteriorating housing affordability and ever longer commuting times, according to PwC chief economist John Hawksworth. He says this year’s index results have shown continued broad-based improvements across most UK cities, “but there are also signs that progress has plateaued,” particularly among top performing cities where unemployment rates were already very low.