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New Study Reveals the Most Productive Cities in the UK

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Whether you’re a digital nomad, or a budding entrepreneur, deciding where to set up a business can be hard. From target market to growth potential, there are plenty of factors to consider, but where in the UK might be best for productivity levels?

To find out, Business Name Generator has conducted new research, looking at 30 cities across the UK to determine what is best for employee and business productivity. The study has looked at various lifestyle and economic factors, including the quality of life and healthcare in each city, as well as noise pollution levels, commuting times, WiFi speeds, GVA per hour worked and GDP per capita in each location.

Milton Keynes is crowned the most productive city in the UK, with a quality of life score of 197 and GDP per capita at £55,338

The top 10 hardest-working cities in the UK in 2024

Rank

City

Quality of life (out of 240)

Commuting times (mins)

Noise & light pollution (out of 100)

WiFi standard speed

Healthcare index score (out of 100)

GVA per hour worked

GDP per capita 

1

Milton Keynes

197.29

23

27.5

78.03

75.65

£45.90

£55,388

2

Edinburgh

178.80

29

36.07

123.45

78.80

£44.10

£51,776

3

Kingston upon Hull

166.05

29

25.00

178.86

69.60

£29.40

£25,815

4

Belfast

172.78

37

34.46

136.77

71.80

£34.90

£45,085

5

Portsmouth

171.4

20

65

139.03

76.28

£38.70

£36,320

6

Aberdeen

194.7

32

40.62

71.83

79.99

£36.80

£36,557

7

Glasgow

173.40

31

42.31

90.66

78.90

£34.60

£40,244

8

Plymouth

174.95

26

45.83

136.86

75.68

£31.30

£25,262

9

Leeds

167.12

30

53.12

115.48

81.41

£34.50

£37,764

10

Southampton

162.32

28

50.00

134.54

78.07

£35.80

£30,931

Taking the crown for the number one city in the UK for overall productivity is Milton Keynes. The city has the highest quality of life of any city analysed, with a score of 197 out of 240, and it also has the second lowest levels of noise and light pollution (scoring 28 out of 100). Employees also tend to commute for just 23 minutes per day. 

When looking at economic factors, the gross value added (GVA) per hour worked in Milton Keynes is £45.90 – the second highest after London, and the GDP per capita in the city is also very high, at £55,338. 

In second place is Edinburgh. The city ranks as the third best city for promoting a productive lifestyle, with a quality of life score of 179 and noise and light pollution levels given a score of 36. Edinburgh also ranks as the third-best city for economic productivity. GVA per hour worked is only slightly lower than in Milton Keynes, at £44.10, and GDP per capita is also just a little less, at £51,776. Rounding off the top three is Kingston upon Hull. 

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