Welcoming the news, Jim Carter, Chairman of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, said:
“We’re clearly pleased to be recognised for the work that’s been taking place in the city. We signed our City Deal in 2013 and since then we’ve been improving the area to make it more attractive to business, encourage new companies and help workers to access new opportunities.
“We’re already expanding road capacity, unlocking congestion and improving public transport to help people get around. Improving the transport network is integral for us to deliver on our aims.
“We’re also developing our urban centres, helping to create new homes that are needed, and creating the capacity for future growth.
“We’ve already achieved a lot by working closely with our partners and the private sector, so that we can grow the area both at the current time and in the years to come.
“Reports, such as this one from PWC, are a sign that we’re delivering on our plans and the city is growing and developing, but there’s still a lot more to do, as we’ve set ourselves ambitious targets to deliver.”
It’s not just Preston that’s received praise. South Ribble came top of the list last year on the Channel 4 programme ‘Best Place to Live in the UK’.
Jim is also on the board of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
City Deal are currently delivering on ambitious plans for new employment and commercial development across Central Lancashire, with the potential to create around 20,000 new private sector jobs, alongside the delivery of over 17,000 new homes.
PWC’s seventh annual Good Growth for Cities 2018 index sets out to show that there’s more to life, work and general well-being than just measuring GDP. The index measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the nine Combined Authorities, against a basket of ten indicators based on the views of the public as to what is key to economic success and wellbeing.
These include employment, health, income and skills – the most important factors, as judged by the public – while housing affordability, commuting times, environmental factors and income inequality are also included, as is the number of new business starts.
Edwin Booth DL, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “To be ranked as the most improved urban conurbation in the country based on range of key indicators including employment and pay, house prices, transport, the environment and work-life-balance is fantastic news.
“It’s also a testament to the hard work of all of the partners and agencies which help to deliver economic growth across the Preston city-region including Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council, Lancaster County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
“Working together we have successfully brought forward a range of investments which have helped transform the city. These include the £434m City Deal, and a number of major infrastructure projects funded by the LEP’s Growth Deal.
“Both the private and public sectors have played a key role in delivering a step-change in Preston’s economy and regeneration, and there is a tangible air of confidence and excitement about what the future holds for the city, the wider central Lancashire region and the county of Lancashire itself.”
Find out more about the PWC report