The creation of a fully fledged university in Peterborough is seen as the key to dramatically lifting the city’s ability to attract high-paying, high-skilled employers.
Peterborough City Council leader Councillor Marco Cereste said: “My number one priority is to get a university for Peterborough. Without it we can never hope to compete with many other cities.
“Not having a university puts us at a disadvantage. It is a fundamental flaw in our city.
“Our best and brightest youngsters go to other cities and do not return and we don’t attract students from elsewhere who will study and stay here.”
The Centre for Cities’ report highlights the educational attainment of Peterborough residents.
It shows that in 2013, 29 per cent (32,900 people) had high level qualifications - degrees or equivalent - placing Peterborough 38th out of 64 cities. A year earlier, the number of people with high level qualifications was 29,400 - 26.1 per cent and left the city in 44th position.
The proportion of the population with five A* to C grade GCSEs, including English and mathematics, rose to 56.2 per cent in 2013 (37th place) compared to 48.3 per cent in 2012 (57th position).
The number of business start ups per 10,000 of the population is 50.4 (18th place) compared to 36.5 the previous year (23rd place).
The number of patents issued per 100,000 of the population was 6.4 in 2013 (6th place) compared to 2.7 in 2012 (41st place).
Employment surged to 74.1 per cent of the working age population in 2013 (13th place). In 2012, the employment rate was 70.8 per cent (26th place).
Average weekly earnings in 2014 were £480 (25th place) compared to £465 in 2013. But their real value fell by £14 - a drop of 2.9 per cent (43rd place ), according to the study.
The report shows that the city’s CO2 emissions rose from 6.4 per capita in 2011 to 6.7 (52nd place) in 2012. Average house prices rose from £157,900 in 2013 (31st place) to £167,800 in 2014 (30th position). The proportion of city postcodes with superfast broadband fell from 74.6 per cent in 2013 (34th) to 69.3 per cent in 2014 (42nd place).