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Cambridge, Oxford and Milton Keynes will have the fastest growing economies of all Britain’s cities in 2018, as the corridor north of London continues to attract strong investment.

Despite London’s traditional prowess and resources being ploughed into the so-called Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine, the trio of cities are set to prosper the most, based on a substantial skills base.

Cambridge’s gross value added – a measure of economic output – will grow by 2.3pc in 2018, followed by Oxford and Milton Keynes, both at 2pc, according to a study from Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research. That is almost twice as fast as Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.

“The Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford arc is seen to have the potential to be the UK’s Silicon Valley and this latest report highlights its economic strength,” said Victoria Brackett at Irwin Mitchell.

The cities’ proximity to London is one factor aiding their growth, combined with high-skilled industries which have grown up alongside their universities. It should be bolstered by a new East-West rail link which is due to start running between the cities in 2023. Milton Keynes is also “a front-runner in the UK for technology” and is successfully attracting start-ups, the report said.

Over the course of 2017, Aberdeen came close to knocking Cambridge off the top spot with GVA growth of 2pc as the oil industry showed signs of a rebound, while Derby and Ipswich also grew at 1.9pc. But Aberdeen is set to tumble down the rankings in 2018 with growth of 1.2pc as the oil sector’s resurgence shows signs of slowing.

At the bottom of the league table is Middlesbrough in 45th place with expected GVA growth of 0.6pc, Belfast at 0.7pc and Swansea at 0.8pc.


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