"We created the Index to spark debate about what type of economy the UK wants. Warwick is doing really well, has a balance and more regeneration to come."
David Hillan, Birmingham practice leader
Warwick has emerged as one of England’s healthiest and happiest places to live and work in a new study examining the social and economic performance of all 324 local authority areas, compiled by leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP.
The town was second only to the Ribble Valley in Lancashire as the healthiest and happiest place to live in England.
Warwick was also the top performing location in the West Midlands across a wider set of indicators of economic inclusiveness and sustainability, finishing 12th overall in the country. The next best performers in the region were Stratford-Upon-Avon and Stafford, positioned 67th and 95th respectively.
Grant Thornton has ranked all 324 English local authority areas against six socio-economic objectives, going beyond GDP to create a holistic index of strengths and areas of opportunity. The study measured a range of key indicators including prosperity, inclusion, well-being and sustainability, to award an overall score.
Cambridge topped the rankings, followed by Westminster, Camden, Oxford and Wokingham.
The Grant Thornton Sustainable Growth Index reveals a contrasting picture of life within the West Midlands’ largest economic areas. Birmingham, Solihull, Warwick and Coventry are all positioned in the top 20% nationally when measured only against prosperity. But their overall scores are impacted by relatively poor performance against indicators such as inclusion and equality, health and well-being.
Wolverhampton was towards the bottom of the list, ranked 271 out of 324 local authority areas in England. It scored average marks on prosperity and dynamism, but poorly on inclusion and equality, health and well-being.
The Index reveals that community, trust and belonging – measured by indicators such as voter turnout, cultural and community assets, and crime statistics – are the biggest challenge in the West Midlands. Over half (57%) of areas ranked in the bottom 40% nationally. The only bright spots were Worcester and Warwick, which ranked in the top 20%.
David Hillan, Birmingham practice leader, Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “We created the Index to spark debate about what type of economy the UK wants. Warwick is doing really well, has a balance and more regeneration to come. The West Midlands results as a whole are reflected in other major metropolitan areas around the country. The Index shows there is a disparity between areas which are prosperous and dynamic, but which suffer from a lack of progress on issues such as generational unemployment and community fragmentation, where people do not feel included. Birmingham and Coventry have made fantastic progress but there are still big challenges around making economic growth more inclusive..
“The reality is that the success of any local place is about so much more than GDP. From soup kitchens to social enterprises, riverside clean-ups to responsible lending, green recycling schemes to growth generation through Local Enterprise Partnerships – real success and sustainable place-based growth is the result of collaboration between people and public, private and third sector organisations.”