HUDDERSFIELD is climbing a league table measuring the prosperity of towns and cities.
Research organisation The Work Foundation ranked Huddersfield 40th in the table, which calculates the productivity of 56 towns and cities. Huddersfield was placed 44th in the table when it was last compiled in 1995.
Among other Yorkshire centres, Leeds was placed 14th (against 16th) last time with York 19th (20th), Hull 33rd (46th), Wakefield 38th (47th) Bradford 46th (41st) and Barnsley unchanged in 56th spot.
The Work Foundation said the latest rankings – featured in a report How Can Cities Thrive in a Changing Economy? – revealed a “wide and growing” gap between resurgent towns and cities and those that appeared to be “stuck”.
It also said the north-south divide had made way for “striking” differences between individual cities up and down the country.
The group’s associate director Alexandra Jones said: “Cities such as Reading, Bristol, Manchester and Newcastle have made substantial gains in their economic growth over the past 10 years by attracting higher value businesses and highly skilled people.
“But others such as Hastings, Stoke, Barnsley and Wigan are falling behind – without convincing signs of being able to gain momentum.”
The most productive towns and cities had bounced back from the decline in traditional manufacturing to take advantage of the “knowledge-based” economy by strengthening links with universities and developing high-earning jobs.
Huddersfield’s improved ranking partly reflected the impact of the town’s university and initiatives such as the Media Centre.
But the report said there was a large number of “stuck” cities with rising proportions of people in poorly-paying jobs and very low rates of employment in better paying professional jobs.
Ms Jones said: “Many of these cities refuse to recognise that their economic future relies on trade links with a neighbouring city that – despite being a historic rival – is now thriving. And they are often blighted by chaotic or complacent leadership.”
Among its other findings, the report warned that cities over-reliant on financial services jobs could be vulnerable to the effects of the credit crunch.
It also called for more power and funding to be devolved to towns and cities to allow them to respond to changing economic circumstances, instil civic pride and attract talented people.