Oxford has been named the second best city in the UK for Growth Potential in the 2018 Arcadis’ “Investing in Britain” report published this week.
Oxford scores better than all other major cities except Edinburgh, based on their attractiveness across six themes: economic performance, brand, housing, quality of life and place, people and growth, and infrastructure.
The report measures the unique strengths and weaknesses of cities across the UK and identifies key levers for attracting future investment for social and economic growth. The analysis seeks to offer recommendations for future developments that will improve the quality of life for both businesses and local residents. Of the 24 UK cities assessed, Edinburgh topped the index with a score of 65.5%, Oxford scored 56.1% and Cambridge came third with 55.8%.
The report highlights the importance of collaboration and joined-up investment in place-making, housing and infrastructure. It underlines the importance of the Oxford to Cambridge Corridor in improving investment potential through reducing congestion, making housing more affordable and enhancing airport connectivity.
The report highlights Oxford’s three priority areas for future investment:
- Housing - Reducing the ratio of average house prices against average earnings.
- Road congestion – Reducing the hours spent per year in traffic congestion.
- Enhanced airport connectivity - Improving journey times to the airport and/or the number of flight destinations from the closest airport.
The first two of these have been given top priority in the work of the Oxfordshire Growth Board (consisting of all six Oxfordshire local authorities). The £215 million Housing and Growth Deal between Oxfordshire and the government is expected to be signed off at the end of this month. This will support the opening up of new housing sites around the county and the development of a Local Industrial Strategy for Oxfordshire, involving the expansion of employment sites, especially in Science Vale UK, bringing new resources to address urgent skills gaps, and developing deals with the life sciences and artificial intelligence sectors.
Councillor Bob Price, Board Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, Oxford City Council, and Chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, said: “These results reflect the messages that we have been getting consistently from our business sector colleagues over the past two to three years. The Government has recognised the county’s enormous economic potential and is backing us with substantial new infrastructure investment. Through the Local Enterprise Partnership, we are working to encourage inwards investment and supporting the many new start-up businesses that are the hallmark of the local economy.
“Oxford is a key centre in the UK’s knowledge economy, and initiatives such as the Oxford-Cambridge ‘brain belt’ will support the development of the city region so that we capitalise on the unique resources that are available in this county. The Growth Board recognises that one of the city and county’s attractions for investors is the quality of the environment and its cultural offer, and our future plans will ensure that these are enhanced and nurtured as part of our Joint Spatial Plan.”
Read the full report on the Arcadis website.