Reading has been rated as one of the top two ‘cities’ in the UK for growth for the seventh year running.

The town performed strongly on jobs and health, achieving the highest health score in the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index, published on November 1.

Considered a city in the report due to its population size, Reading has finished behind Oxford for the last three years.

The report states: “The presence of both Oxford and Reading at the top of this year’s index reflects continued improvement across a range of measures, including income and transport.”

The index was developed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and looks at factors like health, housing affordability and the environment, alongside jobs, skills and incomes.

It measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, as well as England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Combined Authorities, against ten indicators based on the public’s opinion on the key to economic success and wellbeing.

Councillor Tony Jones, Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) lead member for Adult Social Care, said: “More often than not the strongest critics of our town can be found from amongst us, talking the town down or complaining that somehow we should be delivering a Rolls-Royce service on a Fiat Punto budget.

“So when an outside, independent voice is heard, I think it is always worth considering.

“Yes we need more affordable housing, yes we have areas of deprivation, but overall it's a pretty good story for Reading.”

A combined Reading-Bracknell ‘city’ led the index for the first four years of its publication, before Bracknell was removed from the equation.

Thames Valley Berkshire was rated as the third best LEP area, behind Oxfordshire and Thames Valley Buckinghamshire .

Nigel Horton-Baker, executive director of Reading UK, said: “Businesses here enjoy the benefits of a highly skilled workforce with great connectivity and a buoyant business eco-system.

“Employees benefit from some of the highest salaries in the UK, strong career paths and a great quality of life.

“Reading is also well placed to deal with any international economic shocks we may face in coming years.

“The public sector is working hard to deliver ‎more affordable housing, our transport network is going from strength to strength - the arrival of the Elizabeth Line, a new station at Green Park, a direct rail link to Heathrow – and there is a strong pipeline of international investment.

"Reading is forecast to continue its good growth well into the future.”