Milton Keynes has been named as one of the best areas in the country for sustainable growth, prosperity and resilience by a new report from leading financial and business adviser, Grant Thornton UK LLP.
The Sustainable Growth Index aims to measure the success of the 324 local authority areas in England. As well as looking at traditional economic measures, the report also takes into account social indicators such as dynamism, inclusion, health, resilience and community trust.
Milton Keynes is in 30th place nationally on the overall Sustainable Growth Index, climbing three places on last year’s Index. The town also ranks in the top 20 nationally for ‘prosperity’ at number 16 – a measure which evaluates local wealth and job opportunities. Meanwhile, ‘resilience & sustainability’, which takes into account the impact the local economy has on the environment, was another high scoring area for Milton Keynes – the town came in at eighth place, although this is four places down on the 2018 Index.
Areas across the south of England dominated the report – 29 of the 67 local authorities in the South East are in the top 20% on the overall sustainable growth index. Cambridge has claimed the top spot for the sixth year running, followed by Westminster and Camden. More locally in Buckinghamshire, all five of the local authorities received high rankings in the Sustainable Growth Index– Wycombe was at 19, Chiltern 22, South Buckinghamshire 44 and Aylesbury 54.
Giles Mullins, Practice Leader at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, said: “In times of uncertainty like the ones we’re currently experiencing, it is very encouraging to see Milton Keynes showing such a strong performance as a desirable place to both work and live. Although the report looks at much more than just economic performance, the prosperity measure demonstrates the strength and diversity of the local economy.”
However, one trend which was highlighted in the report was the struggle of authorities – in particular large towns and cities – to translate positive scores in the areas of ‘prosperity’ and ‘dynamism & opportunity’ (which measures an area’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit) into inclusive and healthy societies.
Milton Keynes was ranked at 80 for ‘dynamism’ – up from 85 in 2018 Index – and 89 in the ‘community trust & belonging’ basket, which measures the creativeness of local cultures and feelings of safety and engagement. The authority also came in at 119 in the ‘health, wellbeing & happiness’ category, moving four places up the ranking on last year.
Its lowest scoring area was on the measure of ‘inclusion & equality’ (197), which scores authorities on the rich/poor divide and whether everyone in the area is benefitting from
Giles Mullins added: “Milton Keynes scored well on the scales for ‘dynamism’ and ‘community trust’, and also saw a slight improvement in ‘health, wellbeing & happiness’. However, ‘inclusion & equality’ is an area for improvement, and Milton Keynes has actually fallen 11 places in this basket since the 2018 Index. This just goes to highlight that the economic success of an area doesn’t necessarily translate into an inclusive society, which is consistent with national trends that we’re seeing across
“Grant Thornton created the Sustainable Growth Index as a new way of measuring the success of an area which takes into account more than just economic performance. There is an appetite from leaders throughout the UK across the public, private and third sectors to have this conversation; they want to understand the challenges facing their local area and our aim is for these findings to kick-start conversations, and help inform and shape future investment decisions.”
To view the results of Grant Thornton’s Sustainable Growth Index in more detail, visit www.grantthornton.co.uk/insights/sustainable-growth-index-how-does-your-place-score