Swindon is one of the best places in the UK for economic growth, according to a new report.
The town ranked eighth out of 42 urban centres in the Good Growth for Cities index, published by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and think tank Demos.
Along with Bristol (ranked fourth), Swindon is one of only two communities to find a place in the top 10.
The index – which uses measures other than GDP to measure the success of urban areas – was topped by Oxford, followed by Reading and Southampton.
A range of factors are taken into consideration when devising an overall score for each place, including:
- Secure jobs
- Adequate income levels
- Good health, work-life balance
- Affordable housing
- High levels of entrepreneurship
- Good quality transport systems
- Providing for the future through the potential to be in employment and earn a living
- Protection of the environment, and
- Fair distribution of income and wealth
Swindon scored well for transport, improving on its score from last year, along with property owner occupation and income distribution, which were above the national average.
Swindon also saw an index increase for skills in people aged older than 25, and in protection of the environment, although it still performs below the national average in this area.
On the downside, Swindon saw its largest decrease in skills for 16 to 24 year olds, a rise in poor health, and costlier housing.
And despite retaining a top ten ranking, its overall index score actually decreased slightly, by around 0.05, compared to 2015-17. Most urban areas, conversely, have seen an overall increase in their scores.
"The region as a whole performs well across a wide mix of indicators with Swindon maintaining its top ten status, despite falls in some of the measures," said John-Paul Barker, PwC’s West and Wales regional leader.
"The progress made by cities across the South West and Wales is to be welcomed, but also presents some challenges.
"It is critical that the local authorities and their partners in this area continue to focus on their approach to managing rapid growth, ensuring that its benefits are distributed fairly across all sections of society.”