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Norwich hailed as go-getting city

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:54 02 July 2010

Gentleman's Walk, Norwich. View from St Peter Mancroft

Gentleman's Walk, Norwich. View from St Peter Mancroft

Sarah Hall

A key study has hailed Norwich as one of the most go-getting cities in the country and one which weathered the recession better than most.

The influential UK Competitiveness Index (UKCI) - which rates cities according to how good they are at attracting and keeping successful companies while offering a good standard of living - found Norwich was one of the biggest climbers in the table.

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A key study has hailed Norwich as one of the most go-getting cities in the country and one which weathered the recession better than most.

The influential UK Competitiveness Index (UKCI) - which rates cities according to how good they are at attracting and keeping successful companies while offering a good standard of living - found Norwich was one of the biggest climbers in the table.

The city shot up from its ranking of 16th in 2008, when the last report was compiled, to 11th this year, with only Exeter making a bigger jump.

The East of England was also rated as the third most competitive region in the country, behind only the South East in top place and London in second spot.

Among the factors used to calculate the tables were economic activity rates, number of businesses, number of new businesses starting, GCSE results, unemployment rates and gross weekly pay.

Prof Robert Huggins, co-author of the report, from the Cardiff School of Management at the University of Wales Institute, said: “Compared to other cities, Norwich has seen a greater number of new business start-ups, so there seems to be quite a number of entrepreneurs there, which is healthy.

“The employment rate is steady and there has been some significant improvement in productivity. Cambridge has been the leader in the knowledge economy but Norwich is improving.”

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said he was delighted to see Norwich rated so highly. He said: “The city has positioned itself well in the past few years and the council has been doing everything in its power to raise the city's profile.

“The business community has been incredibly supportive and people have really noticed that Norwich is a great place to live and do business.

“We have said very clearly that we are interested in creating jobs, homes and a high quality of life for people who live here and this all points to a brighter future for families in the city.”

But Mr Morphew said, with the city punching so highly, the region deserved more money to give it the infrastructure to grow even more.

He said: “The top three regions, including the East of England, are way above the other regions in generating money and what that means is that we are putting cash into the rest of the country.

“That's fine and we are pleased about that, but to reflect our contribution and to help us generate even more wealth, we need more investment.

“That's everything from dualling the A11 to new employment areas to the plans we have for redeveloping St Stephen's Street.”

Nigel Death, from the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber's own recent figures suggested Norfolk was emerging from the recession.

He said: “These statistics continue to reflect that Norwich and Norfolk has not been hit as hard by the recession as some other places.

“Our own figures for the first quarter of the financial year suggest that Norfolk's business community is creeping out of the recession.

“Norfolk and Norwich is proving to be an area where people do choose to live and do business and where companies are robust and fit for the future.”

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