Edinburgh is the third best city in the UK to live

The Capital has been named the third best city in the UK to live and work. Picture: TSPL
The Capital has been named the third best city in the UK to live and work. Picture: TSPL
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The Capital has been named the third best city in the UK to live and work.

The 2014 Good Growth for Cities index – which takes into account factors from economic performance to the quality of life – ranked Edinburgh behind Reading and Aberdeen in the best city stakes.

Others in the top ten included Oxford, Cambridge, Belfast, Preston, Southampton, Coventry and Bristol.

The index, produced by financial consultants PwC and think tank Demos, looks at ten factors seen by the public as key to economic success and personal and family well-being. These include jobs, health, income, skills, work-life balance, house prices, travel-to-work times and pollution.

Edinburgh was also among the top five UK cities to have demonstrated the greatest improvement since the recession. It came in third behind Belfast and Cambridge.

The report attributed the Capital’s strong position to improvements in health, skills and work-life balance, and a below-average rise in unemployment.

City council leader Andrew Burns said the high ranking in the index was good news for Edinburgh.

“A lot of it is to do with the quality of life it has to offer,” he said. “That’s what drew me to Edinburgh and it’s what still draws people to the city.

“There’s good access to top quality education facilities, national art galleries and museums, as well as theatres. Edinburgh has capital city attractions without the downsides of many other capital cities.

“And its compact natures means it’s easy to get around on foot, which appeals to people a lot.”

John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “It’s brilliant that Edinburgh has been named the third best place to live in the UK, although to those of us that live and work here, it’s no surprise. We hope these figures show that Scotland’s capital is not only a beautiful city, with stunning architecture and scenery, but the people are also open, friendly and incredibly welcoming.

“Visitors come here as they trust the strong reputation that Edinburgh has built over the years as a world-class destination and it’s fantastic to see the people behind the success story are getting the recognition they deserve too.”

Paul Brewer, of PwC in Scotland, said the Scottish cities had scored highly in terms of employment, income, work-life balance and the skills base.

“Overall, the index shows that people are looking for a package of attractions in their preferred city home, ranging from available jobs to affordable housing and a good quality of life; our research also suggests that investors set similar priorities in the hunt for skills, talent and appropriate infrastructure. C

“Collectively that suggests that the top Good Growth Cities are good for employers, workers and their dependants.

“In Edinburgh, an increase in the skills base more than compensated for an overall decline in citywide employment.”

Lindsay Gardner, PwC’s regional chairman in Scotland, said the index confirmed that Scottish cities had advantages that went beyond pure economic measures and made the cities attractive investment locations.

“The performance of the cities on the index tells us that there is more to life, investment and work than GDP.

“Investors want available and high-level skills, competitive operating costs and a world-class infrastructure with Scottish cities scoring well every year under each of these headings.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com