Only two other key UK cities saw positive growth during the same period: Glasgow stands in second place with vitality growth of +2.7% while Sheffield saw positive growth of 1.7%.

At the other end of the scale, Manchester was the worst performing out of the 20 key cities tracked, with a -6.1% annual decline in its index score while Aberdeen and Edinburgh jointly occupy second-last place in the table having both seen an index drop of -5.8%. in the year to Q1.

With international tourists – and many office workers – yet to return to London in substantial numbers, the capital’s vitality index rating also fell by -2.4%.

Evaluate|Locate is an economic index which continuously rates every location across the UK on the basis of key economic metrics and gives insights into how they are progressing over time. By accessing pre-verified data sets dating back to January 2010, its Economic Vitality Index assess the economic characteristics and ‘direction of travel’ of a given location whether it is a neighbourhood, town, city or region.

Adam Kirby, Head Of Data & Insights at Evaluate|Locate, comments: “UK cities are facing a particular squeeze when it comes to the cost of living. We’re tracking earnings which are struggling to grow more than a few points – while inflation is flirting with double digits.

“In some city centres, the number of active businesses is in decline and unemployment is already high. There are also signs that such pressures are beginning to be felt in residential property values – and in time, potentially in city population trends too.

“Belfast is so far resisting this trend by maintaining growth in new active businesses, stable employment, and positive earnings growth that’s almost matching inflation. Cities that can do the same will be best placed to weather a gathering storm for the UK economy – in which urban areas may feel the strongest headwinds.”

For more information on Evaluate|Locate, please contact Adam Kirby