Milton Keynes named one of UK's "top performing" cities despite expensive houses and poor work-life balance

Milton Keynes remains one of the UK's top performing cities for the fourth successive year, despite dropping a place because its housing is too expensive.

MK also lost points by coming out below average on work-life balance, health and transport.

Milton Keynes signpost

Milton Keynes signpost

But it scored particularly highly in jobs and income distribution, says the PwC's Good Growth for Cities Index.

Published today, the index sets out to show there’s more to economic well-being than just measuring GDP. It measures the performance of the UK’s largest cities 10 factors the public deem most important when it comes to economic well being. These include jobs, health, income and skills, as well as work-life balance, house-affordability, travel-to-work times, income equality, environment and business start-ups.

The price of success for Milton Keynes is housing affordability, as it is ranked in the index as the seventh city for highest house prices to earnings ratio.

Senior partner for PwC in Milton Keynes, Sam Taylor, said: "Despite a backdrop of uncertainty local leaders have had significant success in delivering good growth in Milton Keynes and the wider region. Our research shows the need to take a comprehensive approach to growth, focusing on improving productivity to compete on a global stage, but also on ensuring fairness and inclusive growth so that people and places don’t feel left behind."

The MK graph

The MK graph

Sam added: "It is testament to the collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit across public and private partnerships in the region, that Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes are all in the top 10 performing cities. This demonstrates we have three fantastic pillars to continue to build our Arc vision on by continuing to attract investment in business, infrastructure, research & development and education.

"Our shared aspirational vision for the Arc will see a stream of businesses and infrastructure connecting these top performing cities. However, as is seen in many cities’ performance this year, maintaining the momentum of growth is dependant on continued investment in infrastructure through key projects, such as the bid for Milton Keynes University, and road and rail infrastructure across the Arc.”

Oxford and Reading remain the top-performing UK cities, followed by Southampton in third place. Bradford emerged as this year’s most improved, driven by jobs, work-life balance and skills amongst its 25+ year olds.