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South East Cities Set To Outperform Northern Counterparts In 2018

Top Two Spots Claimed By Renowned University Cities Of Oxford And Cambridge


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094


The three South East cities of Cambridge, Oxford and Milton Keynes are expected to have the fastest-growing economies in 2018, according to new research published today by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

Highlighting the strength of the so-called ‘Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc’, the ‘UK Powerhouse’ report reveals that the growth corridor will continue to outperform the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and the ‘Midlands Engine.’

The UK Powerhouse is produced by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economic & Business Research (Cebr). It provides an estimate of GVA* growth and job creation within 45 of the UK’s largest cities 12 months ahead of the Government’s official figures.

The report says that the renowned university city of Cambridge continues to benefit from several industrial parks which are leading the way in fields such as wireless technology, display technology, and mobile telecommunications. The city’s proximity to London also benefits businesses, as the capital city remains economic hub of the nation.

Milton Keynes and Oxford are expected to grow at 2.0% annually in Q4 2018. It says these cities are leaders for innovation and adds that Milton Keynes is a front-runner in the UK for technology, being home to several tech start-ups.

Expert Opinion
“The Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc is seen to have the potential to be the UK’s Silicon Valley and this latest report highlights its economic strength. There is of course action that needs to be taken to ensure this location maximises its potential, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the need to generate growth in other areas.

“Cambridge, Oxford and Milton Keynes are expected to grow almost twice as fast in 2018 than cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. Although the government acknowledges this is a problem, we need to see real action and investment in these areas.”
Victoria Brackett, CEO of Business Legal Services & Partner

Josie Dent from Cebr said: “The education sectors in Oxford and Cambridge are catalysts for economic growth. Not only are these cities home to universities which consistently rank highest in the country, but they also boast some of the country’s best schools, which send many students to top universities. The universities in both cities also provide research and funding for the booming science, research and innovation sectors in the areas surrounding the cities. As a result, employment in Cambridge and Oxford has increased by 18% and 14% respectively in in the ten years to Q3 2017.”

The report notes the education sector makes a major contribution to economic growth within many areas surrounding universities and also offers recommendations on how it can continue to do so. These include:

    • Universities engaging in the work of Local Enterprise partnerships, particularly in support for innovation
    • Cities with a strong outflow of graduate age young workers having policies for retaining talent, with the Government also providing incentives for graduate recruiters to hire more in those areas
    • Cities improving infrastructure to optimise the movement of workers
    • The introduction of large-scale affordable housing projects to appeal to graduates

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