While London retains a certain cachet as the UK’s capital city, it is also a somewhat expensive option for companies seeking office accommodation that is well placed logistically. In other parts of the UK, some cities are developing their own unique offer to make them attractive to those seeking to start up or expand a business, or to relocate.
Leeds – thriving financial sector
The financial, cultural and commercial heart of West Yorkshire, Leeds has grown and flourished during the last decade in particular, and was named one of five ‘cities to watch’ in 2011 by the British urban policy research unit, Centre for Cities.
Leeds has a diverse economy, making it an ideal office location for a number of different business sectors. In particular, the city has a healthy commercial record in finance, banking and insurance, and is now the location of the largest financial center outside London. Call centers, offices, media and retail developments have also boosted the city’s economic growth. Office developments extend beyond the downtown area to south of the River Aire, offering attractive accommodation in uniquely pleasant surroundings.
Bristol – enterprise in manufacturing
With a long history of prosperity, mainly as a result of its busy port, Bristol presents some impressive trading opportunities. The city’s port is the main import site of cars into the UK, plus the commercial side of the city has sustained a respectable reputation in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.
The aerospace industry is a key component in the local economy, with a number of aviation companies being based in the city, or with strong links to it through local component suppliers. The financial services sector and some high-tech industries are also mainstays of the local economic growth.
The rapid and robust development of music and film companies has attracted interest from the creative industries sector, and in 2011 it was announced that Bristol’s Temple Quarter was to become an enterprise zone – making it particularly attractive to start-up and expanding businesses.
Birmingham – international commercial center
The UK’s second city after London in terms of population, Birmingham also has the second largest urban and metropolitan areas and is at the heart of the English West Midlands. Birmingham is a major commercial center by international standards, and an important hub for retail, transport, national conferences and other high profile events.
Public administration, education and health are key components of the local economy, and Birmingham is the largest UK center for employment in these sectors. New employment opportunities are appearing all the time, with Birmingham Business Park being home to offices occupied by big companies and major brand names.
Birmingham’s excellent transport links include a mainline railway station, a major international airport and fast access to the UK’s motorway network. With a view to making Birmingham a city where people will want to live as well as work, The Big City Plan was launched in 2010 and is an ambitious scheme that aims to remodel and improve the city over a 20-year period.
The scope for business development across the UK’s cities remains impressive, with significant niche markets thriving alongside mainstream developments. A business from any employment sector will easily find a viable home in one of the UK’s thriving cities.