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Report confirms city as among the UK’s most prosperous

New research in the Vibrant Economy Index published by business advisers Grant Thornton measures how the 324 local authority areas in England compare across six broad economic and social indicators.

Milton Keynes ranked 17th place nationally for prosperity and 33 out of 324 for overall vibrancy, which measures the best balance between economic growth, innovation, social equality, health and happiness.

The top 20 most prosperous places in England are all in London and the South East, with Westminster, Tower Hamlets and Camden claiming the top three spots respectively.  Nationally, Cambridge held first place as the most vibrant place in the country for the fifth successive year.

  • Pictured: Fiona Baldwin, practice leader at Grant Thornton in Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes appeared in the top ten nationally for resilience and sustainability, an indicator which looks at how the economy impacts on the natural environment, ranking in fourth place. 

It also scored above the national average for dynamism and opportunity, an indicator which measures levels of skills, innovation and entrepreneurship; community, trust and belonging, which looks at quality of culture and how safe and engaged people feel in their community, and the health, wellbeing and happiness of residents.

Fiona Baldwin, practice leader at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, said: “It is highly encouraging that Milton Keynes has shown such a strong performance across the board, particularly in terms of prosperity, underlining the strength and dynamism of our local economy.

“However, a successful economy is not all about wealth generation. Our Index has been developed around the belief that a thriving society should provide opportunities for everyone; we need to focus on more than just prosperity and growth.

“Simply looking at this can mask issues which if directly tackled, could make a significant difference to the quality and equality of our communities.”

Although Milton Keynes scored highly for prosperity, levels of inclusion and equality, an indicator which considers whether all members of the community are benefiting from economic growth, remain average.

This broadly underlines one of the Index’s key national findings that higher levels of wealth do not necessarily translate into creating an inclusive, healthy and happy place to live.

Looking at Buckinghamshire as a whole, Wycombe was the county’s stand out performer ranking 17 out of 324 for overall vibrancy and in the top 20% nationally for all six indicators. Chiltern ranked at 28 overall, South Bucks at 44 and Aylesbury Vale at 48.

The South East is the most vibrant region in the country with almost half (31) of the 67 local authority areas featuring in the top 20%.

Mrs Baldwin said: “Creating a more vibrant, inclusive economy is not something that could – or should – be the sole responsibility of any one organisation or person. Making this vision a reality means we need to work together, pooling our resources and strengths to produce positive change that will benefit all.”

England’s top 10 most vibrant local authority areas:        

  1. Camden
  2. Westminster 
  3. Wokingham 
  4. Richmond Upon Thames 
  5. Windsor & Maidenhead 
  6. Vale of White Horse 
  7. South Cambridgeshire
  8. Oxford
  9. Guildford


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