Cities Outlook 2016

Our annual health check of the largest cities and towns asks: how do we build a high-wage, low-welfare economy?

Report published on 25 January 2016 by Centre for Cities

In the Summer Budget 2015, the Chancellor set out his vision to build a “higher wage, low-welfare” economy in Britain. This year’s Cities Outlook shows that while 14 cities can be said to be achieving this goal already, almost half have lower wages, and higher welfare, than the national average. Moreover, welfare spending since 2010 has grown at a much faster rate in high-wage cities, largely the result of rising housing benefit payments.

Outlook 2016 argues that in order for the Chancellor to achieve his objective, he will need to vary his approach across the country. To deal with increases in welfare spending in recent years the focus will need to be on addressing housing shortages in high-wage areas. Meanwhile in low-wage areas, to tackle both low-pay and high-welfare, the focus needs to be on boosting jobs and skills.

Now in its ninth year, Cities Outlook provides the authoritative economic index of the 63 largest cities and towns in the UK. To explore the data behind the report, visit our data tool. To get the key stats on your area, go to our city by city page.

For a quick introduction to the findings of the report, click through this slideshare:


We can supply high resolution images of any of the graphics featured in the report, please contact Ilia Popovski.

For any media enquiries please contact Brian Semple