For the second year running, Bankrate.com, the consumer financial services company, has published its UK Progressive Cities Index 2020. topping the league is Bath, followed by Bristol at No 2 and Oxford at No 6 (down five places from last year). Hereford (rising to 22nd place), Gloucester (at 24th place down from last year), Worcester (27, also dropping from last year) Coventry (36, up from 2019).
So what is a Progressive City?
Bankrate UK analysed 7 individual criteria in order to assess how progressive the UK’s cities are with regards to social and environmental issues. In 2020, it revisited the criteria, which covered search trends, voter turnout, vegan/vegetarian restaurants, recycling rates, ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) registrations, gender pay gap and women in local government, to see which cities have continued to make headway on these issues and who has, unfortunately, taken a step back.
The 2020 Progressive Cities runner up, Bristol, climbed from position 6 to 2 in the past 12 months. The cultural hub has made improvements across all categories, with the most notable being with regards to the number of ULEVs on the road and searches related to environmental and social issues.
Oxford took the top spot for searches relating to social and environmental this year. However, despite the increased interest, Oxford dropped by 5 places to finish in position 6 this year.
Bankrate also used the criteria to identify the least progressed UK city, with Preston in Lancashire receiving the unenviable crown. Despite improving the number of ULEVs on the road, the widening gender pay gap and the reduction of women in the local council has meant Preston is now the least progressive city in the UK.