Leicestershire’s Oadby and Wigston borough is in the top 10 most improved places in England to live and work, according to the new results from the annual Vibrant Economy Index, produced and published today (19th April 2018) by business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP.
The district has shot up 66 places over the five years of the Index, earning it a top ten place for most improved performance out of the 324 English local authority districts analysed in the Index.
Grant Thornton’s annual Vibrant Economy Index measures how places in England compare on a range of factors that measure not only economic but also social performance, from prosperity to health, wellbeing and happiness, and inclusion and equality.
Overall, only seven areas in the East Midlands region rank above the national average, painting a picture of ‘considerable challenge’ for the region, according to its analysis.
Of the regions’ best performing areas, Rushcliffe is the strongest performer, ranking in the top 20% nationally, but over half of the areas in the East Midlands (23 out of 40) rank below the national average, with 11 areas placed in the bottom 20%,
The Index measure of prosperity, which takes into account factors including an area’s level of wealth and job creation, reveals that North West Leicestershire and Derby stand out for their performance, both ranking in the top 20% nationally. Rushcliffe, Charnwood, and Hinckley & Bosworth perform particularly well for dynamism and opportunity, ranking 15th, 18th and 57th out of the 324 authorities respectively.
When measured for how well existing wealth is spread throughout the region’s local population, the East Midlands performs best for its inclusion and equality, with five areas in the top 20% nationally – Rutland makes the top 10 in England (10th); followed by South Northamptonshire (26th); Harborough (28th); Rushcliffe (37th); and Blaby (39th).
Rushcliffe, Harborough and Rutland also perform well for the levels of overall health, happiness and wellbeing of their local populations, all ranking in the top 20% nationally.
Chris Frostwick, practice leader of Grant Thornton’s East Midlands regional office in Leicester, explains: “Created to spark a debate on what type of economy we want in the UK, the Vibrant Economy Index ranks the 324 English local authority areas against six broad socio-economic objectives for sustainable and inclusive growth, and provides us with a way of identifying the opportunities for, and challenges to, social and economic growth across the nation.
“Whilst the picture for the East Midlands is one of considerable challenge, we have some exceptionally strong performers in Rushcliffe, which is amongst the top ten areas for inclusion and equality; Oadby and Wigston, that shows impressive improvement in performance over the last five years; and Charnwood and Hinckley & Bosworth for their dynamism and opportunity.”
He adds: “We will talk in more detail about the performance of the East Midlands in the Vibrant Economy Index 2018 at the events to mark the launch of our East Midlands Top 200 Report 2018 next month.”
Very few of East Midlands’ areas rank above the top 40% average nationally in the Index, with more than half in fact ranking below. Chris comments: “Looking spatially across the region, stronger performance is found around Leicester and Nottingham, with the poorest performing areas located in the north and far east of the East Midlands, and at least a third of areas in the region ranking below the national average when measured for inclusion and equality, and health, happiness and wellbeing.”
He adds: “However, the East Midlands is rich in opportunity, and the Index tells us the greatest opportunity for improving its economic performance in terms of its prosperity from wealth and job creation, lies in its entrepreneurial skill set, which is strongly evidenced in the Index’s measurements and findings. This will play a significant role in driving future growth for the regional economy.”
The Vibrant Economy Index ranks the 324 English local authority areas against six broad socio-economic objectives for sustainable and inclusive growth. These six baskets are based on 52 indicators of performance and track factors that enable businesses, communities and individuals to thrive.
A round-up of the performance of the East Midlands in the Vibrant Economy Index 2018 will form part of the East Midlands Top 200 Report 2018, the results of which will be unveiled at breakfast briefing events next month in Nottingham (9th May), Leicester (10th May) and Lincoln (11th May).