Belfast Telegraph

Belfast plummets down list of top UK cities to live and work in

By John Mulgrew

Belfast has crashed out of the top 10 UK cities to live and work in, according to a new survey.

The city's position fell to number 25 of 42 cities across the UK. That's down from the eighth spot of a year earlier, according to PwC's Good Growth for Cities index for 2016. The accountancy firm's report ranks cities on a combination of economic performance and quality of life.

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Belfast finished in fourth place out of cities in the devolved regions - Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. However, Londonderry has become the lowest scoring devolved city, dropping below average in a majority of the areas. It scored particularly poorly in the most heavily-weighted areas, including job creation and income distribution.

The report says Belfast has performed well in job creation, although it has not matched other UK cities in terms of improving income distribution, new business creation, skills and health.

Paul Terrington, PwC regional chairman in Northern Ireland, said that Belfast performed well in most categories, but other cities performed better overall.

"Our analysis reveals that Belfast scores well in terms of work-life balance, commuting times and housing affordability," he said.

"But across the UK, two of the five cities with the biggest improvement, Doncaster and Wakefield, are in the bottom five of the overall index.

"By contrast, two more of the cities with the largest improvement, Swindon and Coventry, are in the top 10 of the overall index.

"This suggests that the performance of cities and the pace of recovery in the wake of the financial crisis is not determined by the city's starting position, but rather by a combination of local action - partnerships between local authorities, government and business as well as improvement in the national economy."

The index is based on annual data up to 2015 and doesn't reflect any effects of the Brexit vote.

Mr Terrington said there is a "compelling case for Belfast to look towards a form of city deal that will accelerate devolution and deliver policy levers that can accelerate good growth".

Belfast Telegraph