City of Cambridge faces largest wealth-poverty disparity in the UK, report finds

Image credit: Stephen Mackay

Cambridge is officially the most unequal city in the UK according to the Cities Outlook annual report published by Centre for Cities.

The report looks at many factors to deliver a health check of UK cities. This is because businesses tend to set up in cities and knowledge-based industries will be key to future growth. The report’s insights into UK cities show opportunities for future growth and development.

Using income data, the report measures inequality and Cambridge tops the list. Oxford is second and London is third. The most equal cities tended to be in Wales or the North of England whilst the least equal were in the South East.

Equality is important because many people who voted leave in last year’s referendum had not felt the benefits of globalization so there is an increasing political focus on inclusive growth that everyone can share in post-Brexit.

More equal cities tended to be poorer as they had lower wages and more manual jobs. Unequal cities had more knowledge based jobs so tended to be richer.

The report goes on to admit that the tendency of richer people to move out of the cities to live in the surrounding areas has an impact on the inequality ranking, likely making UK cities look more equal than they are.

Cambridge has the highest number of patent applications in the UK with 349 applications per 1000 people. That’s 3 times more than second place Coventry which has 118.4 per 1000 and 4 times more than Oxford which has 79.9 applications per 1000 people.

The report paints a broadly positive picture of Cambridge. We have the highest percentage of people with high qualifications (NVQ4 and above) and the fifth highest weekly wages at £603 per week. London tops the list at £697 per week.

Cambridge also has the third highest population growth rate at 1.9% and is a hard place to buy a home. The average house now costs £475,800 making a house 15.8 times more than the average person’s salary of £30,100.

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