YORK needs to increase its productivity to achieve its goal of becoming a top-ten European city.

Members of the York Economic Partnership, which is made up of the public and private sectors, said the city needed to focus on “added value”, the difference between the production cost and sales cost of York’s output, after seeing a report by Centre For Cities comparing York with its European counterparts.

The report, prepared for City of York Council, which announced in its draft economic strategy its ambition to be in the top ten of European cities of a similar size by 2015, said York’s gross domestic product (GDP) per head lags behind many European cities.

Despite ranking sixth out of the 60 comparable cities for population growth, and having the fourth highest proportion of the working population educated to degree level or higher, the city was 44th for GDP per capita.

The city is ranked 23rd in the UK for Gross Value Added (GVA) per capita, with a contribution to the economy of £20,048 per head, compared with Oxford and Cambridge, which contributed £33,270 and £32,646 respectively.

The report said the city’s productivity was probably reflected by the high proportion of services and leisure industries, compared with high-output sectors like manufacturing and energy, which were key industries in the leading cities, such as Regensburg in Germany.

It said its quality of life also probably attracted high earners to live in the city, but perhaps work elsewhere.

“As York offers high quality of place, its role in attracting residents is also a legitimate element of its economy,” it said.

The report said York’s private sector performs well and ranked it ninth for the number of small and medium-sized businesses (employing one to 250 employees), and in 13th for the number of firms employing more than 250 people.

But its dynamism lagged behind comparable cities, with the number of new businesses entering the market as a proportion of existing businesses low at 8.4 compared with the European leader, Trondheim in Norway, at 18.2.

It was ranked 28th for business stock, with 39 businesses in York per 10,000 of the population.