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Reading: UK's epicentre of va-va-voom

Clinches 'top performing city' title

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It's official: Reading is the UK's "top performing" city based on "employment, population growth and skills", closely followed by Bristol, Southampton, Cambridge and York.

That's according to a report by the Centre for Cities tentacle of the ippr which has concluded that " that unemployment and disadvantage in England is primarily an urban phenomenon but shows that it is distributed unevenly".

The places demonstrating more than their fair share of unemployment and disadvantage are Newcastle, Sunderland, Birmingham, Middlesbrough and Liverpool. Centre for Cities big cheese Dermot Finch explained: "We have 'two-track' cities in England. Over the past decade, some have done a lot better than others. Cities like Cambridge and Reading have performed very well, but others like Newcastle and Middlesborough are lagging behind.

"Over the next decade, successful cities like Bristol and York will need to maintain their competitive edge and deal with challenges such as congestion, house price inflation and skills shortages. Meanwhile, lagging cities like Sunderland and Liverpool are struggling to catch up and will need to focus on expanding their business and employment base.

"Cities matter. They are the national economy. But the urban renaissance is unfinished business. There's a lot more work to do over next decade, to ensure that all our cities succeed."

Well, we went and did a bit of research of our own, just to see if Reading is indeed the UK's epicentre of va-va-voom. Using the invariably accurate Google Trends facility, we found that the city still retained some of its past legacy, ranking 9th for prostitution and 8th for crack cocaine.

Among indicators that Reading might be on the up-and-up, Reading is dissapointingly not ranked at all for champagne, Ferraris or money laundering.

However, it does show promise elsewhere, meriting 9th place for yachts and an impressive 5th for private jets. ®

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