Cambridge reported as still being a Tale of Two Cities



30 January, 2017




CAMBRIDGE City Council has welcomed the annual UK cities comparison report published today by the Centre for Cities think tank, which shows that Cambridge continues to shine among UK cities in terms of skills, innovation and economic growth. 


But the council also says that the latest data on housing affordability and local income inequality shows that the February Government Housing White Paper needs to do far more to help the council and its partners provide Cambridge housing that is affordable and meets the needs of people who earn average incomes but still cannot afford to live in the area.


Using new data, the report also suggests Cambridge is the most “unequal” UK city in terms of income distribution, emphasising the importance of the council’s Living Wage campaign and the need for local businesses and organisations to work with the council to ensure fair pay, so local people can afford rising housing costs and prosperity is shared more fairly.


The Centre for Cities’ new report, ‘Cities Outlook 2017’ is the latest of their series of annual reports that provide hard evidence of how cities are performing across a range of key facts.  Once again, Cambridge has come out as one of the UK’s leading cities for skills, innovation and economic growth.

  • Cambridge is confirmed as the most innovative city in the UK, with 341 patent applications per 100,000 of population. The Cambridge Phenomenon is thriving.
  • Cambridge remains the UK city with the most highly qualified workforce too, with 66.5% of the population having high level qualifications.
  • Unemployment overall is second best in the country at 0.7%.
  • Cambridge also has one of the fastest growing populations, up 1.9% from last year’s figures to 130,900 due to the high rate of new housing locally.
  • However, house prices are still third highest in the country, with the average cost of Cambridge house prices quoted at £475,820.  Crucially, despite real wages having gone up 3.2% in the last year, and record levels of local house building, housing affordability remains third worst among UK cities.
  • For the first time, this year’s report also indicates how reliant each city is on trade with the European Union.  50% of Cambridge’s exports currently go to the EU, which shows the importance of that market.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “We welcome this latest report and the fresh evidence it provides, including on how well Cambridge is performing compared to other cities.  It is great to know that Cambridge people remain the most highly skilled, and Cambridge businesses are the most innovative in the UK.


“However, housing affordability remains at crisis levels. The extra £70m we have secured from Government for new council housing through the devolution deal will help us provide over 500 Cambridge families with new council homes in the next five years.  And the £100m for affordable housing across the whole devolution area will benefit people who want to live and work in Cambridge including a high proportion of extra Housing Association housing in neighbouring South Cambridgeshire.  

“We need to continue to add more affordable housing, both for rent and purchase if we are to fully address affordability issues as our economy and population grows.

“We will also continue our campaign to secure a real Living Wage for all Cambridge workers, and work with employers to address income inequality.  Housing is a major cause of the cost of living in the city, and we urge all employers to recognise that and pay the Living Wage.  All local employers have a role to end what is a modern day ‘Tale of Two Cities’, playing their part in addressing the inequality that exists in our great city.”




Notes for editors

  1. You can read the full report on the Centre For Cities website here:


  1. Contacts 

    Cllr Lewis Herbert (Labour group), Leader of Cambridge City Council, email:, tel: 07748 536153


Cllr Tim Bick (Liberal Democrat group), Opposition spokesperson, email:, tel: 07720 413173


Cllr John Hipkin, (Independent/ Green group), Opposition spokesperson, email:, tel: 01223 564126


Antoinette Jackson, Chief Executive,,

tel: 01223 457001

Do you like this post?


Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.