New report names 15 best places to live and work in the UK

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Kayleigh Dray
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From vibrant cities to cosy villages, there’s somewhere to suit everybody’s taste here in the United Kingdom – and, as such, it can be difficult to decide where to make your home.

Thank goodness, then, for Grant Thornton’s Vibrant Economy Index.

Their report for 2016 has unveiled the happiest and most vibrant UK locations to live and work in, based on a number of economic factors, as well as social ones.

These metrics included:

  • Prosperity – do we have an economy that is producing wealth and creating jobs?
  • Inclusion and equality – does everyone benefit from economic growth?
  • Resilience and sustainability – does the economy have a neutral effect on the natural environment, and is the built environment a resilient place to live in?
  • Health, wellbeing, and happiness – are people healthy, active, and living fulfilling lives?
  • Dynamism and opportunity – is the economy entrepreneurial and innovative, with a population that has skill sets to drive future growth?
  • Community, trust, and belonging – do people living in the environment feel safe, engage in community activities, trust local businesses and institutions, and feel included?

This in-depth analysis meant that, while a lot of money is concentrated in cities like London and Birmingham, they did not easily secure spots on the list.

In fact, they – alongside Manchester and Liverpool – performed poorly in terms of health, wellbeing, and happiness levels.

As such, greener and more relaxed areas, such as Cambridge, Oxford, Richmond-upon-Thames, and Guildford, stole the top spots on the list.

The top 15 best places to live and work in the UK

  1. Cambridge
    Average house price: £436,932
    Average salary: £35,000

  2. Oxford
    Average house price: £502,452
    Average salary: £32,000

  3. Richmond-upon-Thames
    Average house price: £783,959
    Average salary: 
  4. Guildford
    Average house price: £492,532
    Average salary: £38,200

  5. South Cambridgeshire
    Average house price: £324,797​​​​​​​
    Average salary:  £37,469

  6. Wokingham
    Average house price: £404,897
    Average salary: £27,362 

  7. Windsor and Maidenhead
    Average house price: £539,115
    Average salary: £28,000

  8. Vale of White Horse
    Average house price: £349,819​​​​​​​
    Average salary: £26,500
  9. Winchester
    Average house price: £437,825
    Average salary: £35,000
  10. Reigate and Banstead
    Average house price:  £515,647​​​​​​​
    Average salary: £33,400
  11. St Albans
    Average house price:  £311,987
    Average salary: £43,500
  12. Chiltern
    Average house price:  £499,434​​​​​​​
    Average salary:  £29,988​​​​​​​
  13. Barnet
    Average house price:  £412,426
    Average salary:  £40,000
  14. Runnymede
    Average house price:  £344,000
    Average salary:  £30,000
  15. Camden
    Average house price:  £700,000
    Average salary:  £33,000​​​​​​​


Speaking to the Mail Online about the results, Sacha Romanovitch, chief executive of Grant Thornton, said: “The index demonstrates that if we want to create places that provide opportunity for all, we need to focus on more than headlines about economic prosperity.

“Higher employment levels or strong business growth need to translate into the creation of communities that are more inclusive and equal, where populations are healthy and happy.”

She added: “While economic performance is fundamentally important to the future of the UK, we need to ensure that this prosperity can also positively impact other factors including health outcomes, housing affordability, personal wellbeing and social inclusion.”

Just in case you were wondering, the least vibrant economy in the UK is Redcar and Cleveland, followed by Blackpool, Barking and Dagenham, and Boston.

That shout help you narrow down your search for a home at least a little bit, eh?


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.