Why Cambridge is the best place for sustainable growth in the UK

17th December 2019

Cambridge has topped the Sustainability Index. Again.

Cambridge has been ranked as the best area in the country for sustainable growth and dynamism.

The city came out top in the Sustainable Growth Index, a report produced by Grant Thornton which tracks 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.

It is the sixth successive year Cambridge has taken the overall number one spot. The city also received the highest rating in the ‘dynamism and opportunity’ category, which measures an area’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.

What’s more Cambridge was in the top 20 per cent of all local authorities for five out of the six indicators measured. The city climbed three places on the ‘prosperity’ ranking (an evaluation of local wealth and job opportunities) compared to the 2018 Index, to 42. It also saw significant growth in the ‘health, happiness & wellbeing’ indicator and is in the top five most improved areas in the country in this category at 42, marking a jump of 190 places.

Grant Thornton's Tim Taylor

Commenting on the findings, Tim Taylor, practice leader at Grant Thornton’s office in Cambridge, said: “Cambridge continues to the lead the way for innovation and entrepreneurship and is a much-loved place to live and work with a highly engaged local community. The city has also made great strides to improve the health and happiness of its residents, which is very encouraging to see.

“However, the trends we are seeing nationally suggest that authorities in big towns and cities are struggling to translate positive scores in the areas of ‘prosperity’ and ‘dynamism’ into inclusive societies where every member of the population feels the benefits of economic success. This year’s report has highlighted this as a key area of improvement for Cambridge and that the city is currently lagging behind its local authority neighbours.”

Cambridge also performed highly in the ‘community trust & belonging’ indicator; once again the city was placed in the top 10 nationally, at number six. However, Cambridge fell 24 places in the ‘resilience and sustainability’ category to 43, which considers the impact the local economy has on the environment.

Elsewhere in the report, Broadland is named as one of the fastest improving districts in the country, making big advances in the health, wellbeing and happiness category, as well as the resilience and sustainability index.

Tim Taylor added: “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.”

View the results of Grant Thornton’s Sustainable Growth Index in more detail here.