Dominated for many years by the City of London, the UK has depended on good transport links and commuters to keep its economic model functioning, but now things are beginning to change. The impact of the internet has seen more and more businesses able to operate from anywhere at a time when the economic pressures on London are making its real estate more and more expensive. As a result, although London remains the UK’s biggest financial centre, other sectors are increasingly finding bases elsewhere, benefiting from lower overheads and bringing economic prosperity to other areas.
Although the Scottish media have long had a strong base in Glasgow, Gaelic language media are mostly based in Inverness, Welsh language media have their home in Cardiff, and English media have traditionally been concentrated in London. The ability to transmit broadcast-quality information over the internet is transforming all this and has seen the BBC shift much more of its production to Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. It has also extended its operations in Cardiff. Meanwhile, despite a continual decline in print sales, certain local newspapers, such as the Manchester Evening News and the Brighton Argus, are successfully using their websites to extend their readership beyond their traditional areas of operation.
Thanks in part to funding initiatives from central and local government, some of the once powerful manufacturing bases in northern England are beginning to regain their influence and attract businesses excited by the levels of skill still available within the workforce. Newcastle, Leeds and Nottingham, and their surrounding areas, have all benefited from this. In Scotland, Glasgow continues to head up the manufacturing sector, especially when it comes to specialised processes, while across the water in Northern Ireland, Belfast’s manufacturing economy has been growing steadily stronger.
When it comes to engineering, Scotland continues to do well with its industry centred in Aberdeen and Glasgow, while England has seen opportunities grow in Bristol, Manchester, Plymouth and Birmingham. People looking for more info on Sir Nigel Rudd will see that he’s always had an interest in the economic potential of the regions, so it comes as no surprise that he’s now involved with Meggit, a firm that started in the West Country and is still going strong there. One of the area’s biggest employers, it has demonstrated that there’s no need to be London-based to do cutting-edge work.
A stronger economic base
Distributing industry around the UK is ultimately good for everyone because it relieves the pressure on London’s property and infrastructure as well as creating opportunity elsewhere. It helps to ensure that industry can make full use of available talent instead of being restricted to those who are able to commute or move, and it reduces the burden of regional unemployment. In light of all this it comes as no surprise that, finance excepted, those businesses based outside London are now enjoying faster rates of growth. This is an opportunity that no truly ambitious business leader can afford to miss.