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by Jenni Davidson
12 November 2019
Aberdeen and Edinburgh ranked among top UK cities to live and work in

Cities - Image credit: Holyrood

Aberdeen and Edinburgh ranked among top UK cities to live and work in

Aberdeen and Edinburgh have been rated among the top ten cities in the UK to live and work in, according to the latest Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities index.

Aberdeen was ranked sixth, one place ahead of Edinburgh in seventh place, with the top spot held by Oxford, followed by Reading, Southampton, Bristol and Milton Keynes.

Aberdeen’s ranking suggested it is recovering from the downturn in the oil and gas sector, with the north east city rising in the rankings from ninth in 2018, having dropped out of the top ten in 2017.

The index is based on 11 indicators around life, work, wellbeing and economic performance and is measured annually across 42 UK cities.

Indicators include job creation, health, income, skills, housing affordability, housing ownership, transport, work-life balance, the environment, income inequality and the number of new business start-ups.

Glasgow was ranked below average, at 24, but it has been steadily improving and was rated the thirteenth most improved city this year.

Dundee, Inverness, Stirling and Perth are not included in the UK index, but were examined separately in a report looking at Scotland’s seven cities.

All seven were ranked highly for skills and all except Glasgow ranked highly for income.  

They were also rated average or above average for jobs creation and work-life balance had improved everywhere except Inverness.

There was also improvement across the board in the environment category, which ranks carbon emissions to average earnings, with Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness placed above average.

However, six out of Scotland’s seven cities were below average for new business start-ups, with Aberdeen the exception, and income distribution in Edinburgh and Stirling was below average and had fallen.

Owner occupation has also fallen across Scotland’s cities, as has house price to earnings, with the exception of Aberdeen, where it is below average but improving.

Health was another area of weakness, with Dundee, Glasgow, Inverness and Perth ranking below average, and Edinburgh and Stirling average but going down.

Stewart Wilson, head of government and public sector for PwC Scotland said: “Scotland is in an incredibly advantageous position as the world moves into a new age where digitalisation and climate change dominate business and political agendas.

“With huge natural resources and a commitment to lower emissions, this year’s Good Growth for Cities index shows that Scotland’s key cities are outperforming the national average in carbon emissions per average earnings, and in improving skills.

“Challenges remain, of course. This year’s index shows that despite widespread perceptions, Scotland is becoming a less affordable place to live, with owner occupation down across the board.

“Edinburgh and Stirling have also seen notable decreases in income distribution.

“Health also continues to be a drag on Scotland’s cities performance, which reinforces the requirement to alleviate long-term sickness issues.

“As a country known for its entrepreneurial spirit and successes, it’s disappointing to see our cities underperform in new business creation.

“Overall, Scotland is well-placed to welcome the 2020s, but to realise our full potential, there remains a requirement for business, government and academia to collaborate to encourage the investment required to ensure Scotland’s cities grow both economically and through quality of life.”

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