Business is booming in Milton Keynes and so is the skilled workforce, according to a report released today by the Centre for Cities.
For the fifth year in a row, Milton Keynes has received a glowing report for its economic strength in the annual Centre for Cities ‘Cities Outlook’ report, which provides analysis of the economic health of 64 local authorities in England.
In its latest report, the Centre for Cities reveals the value of goods and services produced within Milton Keynes is £58,900 per person, the third highest in England. The Milton Keynes economy is worth £8.7 billion overall, a rise from £7.3 billion last year.
Milton Keynes is in the top five for the number of business start-ups in 2012 (54 start-ups per 10,000 people) and for the number of active businesses (375 per 10,000 people).
The borough is recognised as having one of the highest rates of employment in England, and for offering among the highest wages, at £550 per week – putting the borough seventh out of 64 places for local wages and 11th for employment.
The skills of local people have risen since the last report; 33% of people in Milton Keynes have a high level qualification (increasing from 31% last year) and 60% of local people have 5 A*-C GCSEs including maths and English (increasing from 54% last year).
This figure complements the 2013 GCSE results published last week which show that students in Milton Keynes are performing above the national average at this level for the first time ever.
The Cities Outlook report found the unemployment rate (claimant count) in Milton Keynes fell from 5,470 jobseekers (3.3%) in November 2012 to 3,850 jobseekers (2.3%) in November 2013. Milton Keynes Council’s more recent figures released last week show a further drop in December 2013 to 3,630 jobseekers (2.2%); a decrease for the fifth month in a row. Reductions were also reported in youth unemployment and long term unemployment.
It also found that the number of postcodes in Milton Keynes with access to superfast broadband jumped dramatically from 52% in 2012 to 69% in 2013.
Despite the business growth, CO2 emissions per person in Milton Keynes have reduced from 7.4 tonnes in 2010 to 6.5 tonnes in 2011 (the most recent figures available).
Councillor David Hopkins, lead Cabinet member for the economy, said: “These are a very positive set of figures for Milton Keynes, which is no surprise as we remain a very attractive place for businesses to start and flourish. Businesses are attracted to our location, to our facilities, and also because we have the kind of skills locally that they want.
“We work hard to maintain Milton Keynes’ economic success in order to create jobs and opportunities for local people, and this report shows we’re getting it right.”
Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South said: “I am really pleased with this report. It is yet another indication that Milton Keynes is leading the way. Individuals, families and businesses are choosing to come to Milton Keynes over almost all other cities. It pays testament to the hard work and ambition of all across the city.”
MP for Milton Keynes North, Mark Lancaster added: “As a city we should be extremely proud of the way we present ourselves on the national scene. We have led the way to economic recovery and have proven we are a hub for business. I am very optimistic for the years ahead and I know the people of Milton Keynes will continue to build on the successes we continue to achieve.”
The Cities Outlook 2014 is the seventh annual report published by the Centre for Cities. It is the authoritative economic index of the 64 largest cities and towns in the UK.
This year’s report showed Milton Keynes to be the fourth best city to start a business, with almost 55 businesses created for every 10,000 people in 2012. In addition, MK was also the 4th highest city for private sector employment.
The report also showed that despite seeing the largest population growth out of the 64 cities, expanding by 16% over the past decade, the housing supply grew in accordance.
The 2014 Cities Outlook report can be found at www.centreforcities.org/research/outlook14.html