Preston bucks trend of widening North-South divide, along with Leeds and Manchester

Posted on - 15th August, 2021 - 8:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston News
Preston's skyline from the Docks Pic: Tony Worrall
Preston’s skyline from the Docks Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston is bucking the trend of a growing economic and social divide between the North and the South of the UK, according to new data.


In most cases, the North has become less prosperous as a result of falling household incomes, fewer small businesses and lengthier journeys to get to work, while factors in the South have contributed to higher social and economic prosperity.

However Preston was named as a city with above-average scores in Mastercard’s Inclusive Growth Score for the UK.

The score analyses 21 different social and economic indicators – such as housing affordability, broadband speed, access to public green space, small business representation, and commercial diversity – and aims to draw an economic and social picture of communities across the country.

Read more: Preston and Lancashire residents urged to submit ideas for UK City of Culture 2025

So far in 2021, the South has an average growth score of 54 out of 100, up from 53 in 2018. The Midlands has a score of 51.

In contrast, the North’s score has reduced by one to 48 in the past three years, showing a worsening in the region’s economic and social situation.

Preston’s score of 53 demonstrates better-than-average growth, with an article on This is Money pointing to the city’s ‘Preston model of sustainable economic development and experimentation in community wealth building’.

Read more: City Council leader responds to criticism of his new book and The Preston Model

Other northern cities that have bucked the trend are Leeds, with a score of 55, and Manchester, with 53.

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What do you think of Preston bucking the trend in the North-South divide? Let us know in the comments.

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