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Belfast plunges down list of UK's best cities to live and work

 

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Belfast's placing marks a drop of 27 places

Belfast's placing marks a drop of 27 places

Strategies: PwC’s Paul Terrington

Strategies: PwC’s Paul Terrington

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Belfast's placing marks a drop of 27 places

Belfast has slipped downwards for the third year in a row in a ranking of the best UK cities in which to live and work, according to a report today.

Business advisory firm, PwC, said Belfast was now at number 32 in its 42 leading cities list, and at number seven in its ranking of 11 cities from the devolved nations.

This year's placing marks a drop of 27 places on its ranking at number five in 2015's Demos-PwC's Good Growth for Cities Index. This year's index is topped by Oxford.

PwC said the city was declining because of high levels of economic inactivity, and a sluggish rate of new business formation compared to other cities.

And the continued lack of an Executive was also hindering confidence.

However, Londonderry retained its ranking of number 11 in the devolved cities' rating and was praised for showing "significant improvement" on 2017.

The index said that Belfast had performed above average for "job creation, work-life balance, transport infrastructure and income distribution".

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However, other cities have recovered faster from the financial downturn and performed better, the index said.

PwC Northern Ireland chairman, Paul Terrington, said that the announcement from Chancellor Philip Hammond this week of £350m in funding for a Belfast City Region Deal "could not have come at a better time". However, the funding package is less than an anticipated £450m.

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Strategies: PwC’s Paul Terrington

Strategies: PwC’s Paul Terrington

Strategies: PwC’s Paul Terrington

 

Mr Terrington said: "While we see some positive signs, such as job creation, income distribution and growth in business and financial services, we need to realise that Belfast is not growing at the same pace as cities elsewhere across the UK.

"Employment levels are about where they were before the financial crisis, but low productivity, new business formation relative to other cities and long-term economic inactivity are all constraining growth and prosperity - and the continued lack of a functioning Executive is not helping to instil confidence or investment.

"Though the Belfast City Region Deal partners will have to make do with £100m less, they will still be able to implement strategies that can stimulate investment and regeneration. Ideally, we would also see Executive in place to deliver on a Regional Industrial Strategy as well, the importance of which was highlighted in the index."

Belfast's ranking in the devolved cities has also fallen since 2016. It's now behind Perth and Glasgow, with Inverness on top.


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