Prosperity Index shines light on London’s struggling local authorities

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London contains some of the least prosperous local authorities in the UK, according to a new report.

The UK Prosperity Index, published by London-based think tank the Legatum Institute, has ranked all 379 local authorities in the UK according to how prosperous they are based on 12 ‘pillars’ such as safety and security, the quality of local government and living conditions.

In London, only Richmond-upon-Thames and the City of London were ranked in the top 20, while Barking and Dagenham was found to have one of the lowest levels of prosperity in the country, ranking 348 out of 379.

The index, which has been designed to track and guide the Government’s levelling up agenda, found that the most prosperous regions are the South East, South West and East of England.

Professor Matthew Goodwin, director of the think tank’s Centre for UK Prosperity, said that the Government “can be bolder” with its levelling up agenda and that “genuine prosperity is about far more than building a strong economy or supporting individual wealth”.

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He said: “True prosperity is possible only when all citizens, neighbourhoods and communities are able to reach their full potential across broad aspects such as education, entrepreneurial activity, and community life.

“This is why, while we support the Government’s new focus on levelling up regions that have historically been left behind, we believe that the Government can be bolder. Amid the UK’s ‘reset moment’, we need to do more than just level up regions to the status quo.

“We need to be much more ambitious and reach entirely new heights, by creating the conditions that will allow all of our regions and communities to reach their full potential.”

As a region, London was found to have the worst levels of safety and security in the UK, with 18 of the bottom 20 local authorities in that category being in the capital.

Croydon, Brent, Greenwich, Newham, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Enfield, Lambeth, Hammersmith & Fulham, Barking & Dagenham, Islington, Southwark, Camden, Hackney, Haringey, Kensington & Chelsea, City of London and Westminster were judged to be among the 20 worst performing local authorities in the UK for safety and security.

But London did perform well in other areas, such as education, infrastructure and “economic quality” which “reflects how well a local economy is equipped to generate wealth sustainably”.

Only two London boroughs – Newham and Barking & Dagenham – were included in the “priority one” tier of the Government’s £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund that was announced earlier this year, despite City Hall identifying 14 boroughs in London that should have been considered priority one.

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