The South West is the best place to live in the UK and raise a family, according to PwC’s latest Future of Government report, Rethinking Levelling-Up.
The professional services firm surveyed 4,000 people across the UK and found that 67% of people in the South West were either likely or highly likely to recommend it as a good place to have children - nowhere scored higher. And 68% say they would recommend it as a place to live, tied with Northern Ireland as the top spot.
Tom Ayerst, PwC’s Market Senior Partner for the South West, commented:
“The fact that people rate the South West as a fantastic place to live and raise a family will come to no surprise to those who live here. Bristol regularly ranks among top places in PwC’s Good Growth for Cities Index, with Swindon also a high performer, bringing not just great opportunities for employment, but allying that with a work-life balance and amenities that families look for.”
Housing is the standout priority for people in the South West, with seven in ten saying a focus on improving the supply and quality of homes would be most effective in levelling up and reducing inequality. The pandemic has continued the trend of online shopping, but people in the South West want greater investment in the region’s high streets and town centres (47%), followed by higher-paying jobs (43%).
The report also identified that investment in public services (43%) and a better safety net for those most in need were also significant priority areas for the public.
A question of fairness
The research reveals how people from different regions have experienced the effects of the pandemic. People in the South West have had a less negative experience, relatively speaking, than other regions.
44% of people in the South West feel like their area has been treated fairly by the UK Government during the pandemic. When asked if they personally have been treated fairly by the UK Government during the pandemic, 45% in the South West agreed, second to the North East (48%). And 60% of people in the South West are most likely to feel they have been treated fairly by their employer during COVID-19, behind only the East of England (62%).
“Regional rebalancing away from London will continue to help make places in the South West even more attractive. Initiatives such as the Western Gateway have the potential to transform the economic prospects of the region, making it easier to do business, to increase inward investment and tourism and create jobs. Meanwhile, Cheltenham’s Golden Valley development will feature the UK’s first campus focused around the rapidly growing cyber-tech sector alongside 3,000 new homes. These flagship schemes will help ensure the region is globally competitive.”