The findings, based on six broad social and economic objectives, known as ‘baskets’ for sustainable, inclusive growth, paint a picture of the economic landscape across Wales highlighting a range of factors including prosperity, health and community.
Wales’ most vibrant places, as depicted within the report, the Grant Thornton Vibrant Economy Index, demonstrate a good balance between economic growth, social equality, sustainability and healthy, happy people.
Vibrancy is measured using key indicators for each of the six baskets and each place is awarded an overall ‘vibrancy’ score, with 100 being the national average. Monmouthshire, Wales’ most vibrant local authority (LA), scored 104.93 in comparison to the country’s lowest scoring LA which was Blaenau Gwent with a score of 94.04.
The index found that other vibrant places in Wales are spread relatively evenly across the country with the Vale of Glamorgan, Flintshire, Bridgend and Powys leading the way behind Monmouthshire. West Wales’ highest scoring local authority was Pembrokeshire which scored 99.55 but the coastal county faired well in the community, trust and belonging basket with the highest Welsh score of 110.65.
Monmouthshire has held the top spot consistently since 2013 apart from in 2016 when it dipped to number two and the Vale of Glamorgan replaced it as Wales’ most vibrant economy.
The biggest improvement has been seen across Bridgend which scored highly in prosperity and resilience and sustainability to place at fourth in the 2018 Grant Thornton Vibrant Economy Index having previously sat at 11th.
The study also found that:
Cardiff is a prosperous capital city but inclusion and equality are below average:
- According to the index, Cardiff is Wales’ second most prosperous area of growth with a Prosperity score of 109.90.
- Cardiff also takes the top spot in the dynamism and opportunity index with a score of 112.01
- While much of Cardiff’s vibrancy is driven by economic prosperity, it has lower inclusion and equality and health, wellbeing and happiness scores ranking 21st and 18th respectively out of the 22 local authorities.
Rural areas are happier and have a strong sense of community belonging:
- 77% of Wales’ most rural local authorities scored above the national average for community, trust and belonging (Pembrokeshire 1st, Powys 3rd, Monmouthshire 4th, Gwynedd 5th, Anglesey 6th, Conwy 7th, Ceredigion 12th).
- Similarly, seven of Wales’ top ten local authorities for health, wellbeing and happiness are some of the country’s most rural areas (Anglesey 1st, Gwynedd 2nd, Powys 3rd, Monmouthshire 5th, Conwy 6th, Ceredigion 7th, Denbighshire 8th).
Alistair Wardell, Practice Leader in Wales Office of Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:
“Our data shows that many places across Wales are already making great strides towards realising more inclusive growth. Five years ago, Bridgend’s overall performance looked very different and the city ranked in the bottom half of our index. We’ve seen that Bridgend has become more prosperous, more dynamic and more resilient and as a result now represents one of Wales’ most vibrant local economies.
“This impressive result demonstrates that good growth is inclusive growth. Looking beyond just economic prosperity and focusing on measuring the wellbeing of society as a whole can produce real change and start to positively impact local people. We hope that our Index, and the improvement seen so far, will help businesses, public sector leaders, the third sector and communities identify ways they can collaborate to create a truly vibrant economy that works for everyone.”
For more information and to read the report, visit https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/en/insights/the-geography-of-vibrancy-wales/