Rich and poor gap widening

A report from a government think-tank has warned that the gap between Britain’s richest and poorest cities could be set to widen during 2012.  The Centre for Cities has named its five most prosperous cities for the year ahead, as well as the five that face the most problems with issues such as employment and deprivation.

Experts such as Alexandra Jones, chief executive of the influential think-tank, says that cities with a higher number of skilled, professional workers, including employees in businesses such as law, accountancy and the finance sector in general, will do better than those communities which rely on industry for their economic success.

Jones added that while many of the poorest cities were the hardest hit by the recent financial crisis and will be the worst off if the economy fails to recover, those which have managed to maintain good levels of employment are best placed to survive any further problems they might face in 2012.

Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and, unsurprisingly, London were named as the five cities likely to be a success over the next 12 months, with Newport, Swansea, Sunderland Rochdale and Hull the five communities which are expected to struggle the most economically.

Already there are signs that the wealthier cities are pulling ahead of their less well-off counterparts in terms of the number of people claiming benefits in the different areas. For example, even at the start of 2012, Rochdale has six times as many people claiming benefits than Cambridge.