MILTON Keynes has been named as ‘one to watch’ in a new report.
For the third year running the city was praised in a report carried out by independent think tank Centre for Cities for it’s strong economy, the standard of its workforce and overall durability in the face of tough economic conditions.
Businesses in the ‘New City’ now generate more than £28,000 in income for everyone in the borough and in 2010 there were more than five new businesses starting up for every 1,000 people living here.
On the workforce front the report found that the general skills set remains high and that a third of the working population has high level qualifications.
Unemployment is on the decrease as well falling from 3.9 per cent in 2010 to 3.8 per cent in 2011.
The average weekly wage has increased steadily from £515 in 2010 to £538 last year, and it now stands at £561.
The report stated: ‘Based on these factors some cities such as London, Aberdeen and Milton Keynes are well placed to support the creation of the jobs and growth that will address the UK’s unemployment challenge.
Dr Ann Limb, Chairman of South East Midlands LEP (SEMLEP) said: “Between 2010 and 2011 cities in the South East Midlands shrugged off the doldrums and have scored well against a range of economic indicators according to a new report from the respected Centre for Cities research organisation.
“Milton Keynes is less reliant than almost all other cities on the public sector and business start-up rates are the third highest in the country. As a result Milton Keynes is likely to be more insulated from public sector job losses.”
‘Milton Keynes’ continued buoyancy is down to a combination of factors including its highly skilled workforce, knowledge based economy, and the number of new business start-ups.’
Colin Fox, Chief Executive of Milton Keynes and North Bucks Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Centre for Cities report has once again clearly confirmed the unique position of Milton Keynes and the ability of its businesses to meet tough economic challenges.
“This position owes much to the pool of highly skilled residents which supports the development of our knowledge based economy, as well as the vibrant small business sector and in particular our track record in supporting and developing start up businesses.
“The infrastructure provided by Milton Keynes and its immediate hinterland is also a great encouragement for people to live and work here, with the provision of good quality housing, ease of access to major road, rail and air connections, an emerging university sector and great leisure and sporting facilities.
“The Milton Keynes and North Bucks Chamber has seen a sharp uplift in new members this month, which together with a strong performance in export documentation in 2012 provides a clear indication that Milton Keynes is open for business and companies are ready and eager to engage.”
Councillor Andrew Geary, leader of Milton Keynes Council, said: “We’re always confident that Milton Keynes remains one to watch, and this latest report from Centre for Cities is most welcome.
“We are a pioneering ‘can do’ city which thinks differently, but we also have our feet on the ground.
“We have become a solid business base for thousands of companies, including many big household names which have staked their futures and their reputations on Milton Keynes, and we continue to possess all the right ingredients to attract new inward investment.
“A combination of the right skills and our knowledge based economy, as well as numerous business start ups mean that Milton Keynes is still in a very strong position to continue to thrive, even in the face of very tough economic challenges.”
Pete Winkelman, chairman of MK Dons, said: “Everyone in Milton Keynes is keen to work together to get things done in partnership.
“Projects are able to get off the ground because we help each other, and that’s the great thing about the mentality we have in this city.
“We have a massive retail opportunity coming at the stadium site, we are still the fastest growing city in the UK and are able to provide the opportunities to people and businesses that you couldn’t get else where.”