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Swindon has one of highest productivity rates in the country, says Centre for Cities

6 February 2023
The Business Magazine article image for: Swindon has one of highest productivity rates in the country, says Centre for Cities

Workers in Swindon are among the most productive in the country, according to the latest data from national research and policy institute Centre for Cities.

In its latest annual report, which ranks towns and cities in the UK against a set of economic indicators, Centre for Cities lists the town well above the national average in terms of productivity and above cities such as London, Edinburgh, Bristol and Oxford.

Swindon ranks fourth overall (£50.80) when it comes to GVA (Gross Value Added) per hour, which is the Office for National Statistic’s preferred measure of labour productivity. It measures how efficiently labour input is combined with other factors of production and used in the production process.

Swindon also has the fourth highest ratio of private sector jobs to those in the public sector. The statistics show that in 2021, there were four times the number of private sector jobs (92,000) compared to those in the public sector (23,000).

An indicator focusing on innovation showed Swindon performing solidly compared to other towns and cities with the Borough having 18 ‘new economy’ firms per 10,000 of the working age population. ‘New economy’ firms are those within the emerging knowledge-intensive and advanced manufacturing sectors.

It is anticipated that this sector will grow in Swindon over the next few years with the Swindon Economic Strategy identifying Central Swindon as a future major knowledge economy hub supporting a workforce of 10,000 people.

The report did show that Swindon was among the 10 towns and cities with the lowest number of subscriptions achieving ultrafast broadband speeds of more than 30Mbps, although the figures did indicate this is improving and is likely to increase further following the completion of CityFibre’s borough-wide full fibre network rollout.

Councillor David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “The Centre for Cities annual Outlook report is always a good barometer for how we are performing as a town compared to our neighbours.

“For a town of its size, Swindon has punched above its weight for a number of years and I know our strong economy is the envy of not just other towns, but many cities.

“I’m incredibly proud that our productivity rates continue to be among the best in the country. It is a great reflection of our local workforce and it is why businesses still see Swindon as a place where they want to invest. This is also borne out in the ratio of private sector jobs relative to those in the public sector.

“As a council we have been extremely proactive in securing hundreds of millions of pounds from the Government to invest in major infrastructure to help pave the way for future housing and business growth and boost our local economy.

“Following this investment, we can expect to see significant growth in a number of areas over the coming years, particularly in the ‘new economy’ sector where thousands of new jobs have been identified for a future knowledge-economy hub in the town centre.

“The A420 corridor, which includes the 370-acre former Honda site that has been taken over by Panattoni, also presents us with a fantastic opportunity to cement Swindon’s growth and ensure we continue to compete with major towns and cities across the country.”


Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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