Leamington Spa tops the town rich list

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The Independent Online
The genteel Warwickshire town of Leamington Spa has emerged as Britain's most prosperous town for the second year running. According to a survey published today by Dun & Bradstreet, Leamington Spa has the highest proportion of profit-making businesses in the country, writes Nigel Cope.

Middle England performed well in the survey with Warwickshire listed as the most profitable county ahead of County Antrim and Herefordshire. The West Midlands was the most prosperous region followed by the North- west and the East. Ninety two per cent of Leamington Spa's businesses made a profit last year, compared to 96 per cent the year before.

Philip Mellor, Dun & Bradstreet's senior analyst, said: "These figures illustrate the strength of the Midlands economy. Geographically Middle England led the country out of recession. It is now playing a leading part in the recovery."

Mr Mellor said Leamington Spa's success owed much to the improved communication links both by road with the M40 and direct rail from London. He said the town had experienced a slump in its motor industry in the early 1990s but had rediscovered itself as an engineering centre with a widespread of businesses. "Its blend of businesses has ensured its success. So often a town is over-reliant on a particular sector and when that sector falters, the whole town or city goes down with it. Leamington Spa has a good mix."

South Wirral came bottom of the survey with just 66 per cent of its businesses making a profit. The fishing port of Grimsby took a sharp tumble in the rankings. It came top three years ago but slipped to 201 last year. Mr Mellor said the decline was due to intense competition in the food processing industry.

The survey was based on Dun & Bradstreet's database of key British enterprises which details the profit and loss accounts of 50,000 of the largest companies in the UK.

The top ten

Rank Town/City % in profit

1 Leamington Spa 91.8

2= Barnet 90.4

2= Chichester 90.4

4 Rotherham 89.1

5 Chester 88.8

6 Hertford 88.7

7= Dudley 88.6

7= Halifax 88.6

9 Shrewsbury 88.5

10 Eastleigh 88.4

The bottom 10

Rank Town/City % in profit

202= Walton on Thames 71.7

202= Great Yarmouth 71.7

202= Godalming 71.7

205 Watford 71.4

206 Wigan 70.6

207 Stevenage 70.2

208 Darlington 69.9

209 Greenford 69.3

210 Salford 69.0

211 Abingdon 68.3

212 South Wirral 66.0

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