Plymouth ranks highly in Santander index of cities' business competitiveness
PLYMOUTH has been ranked as just outside the top third of UK cities for business competitiveness, by a major bank.
Low business costs and a well-qualified workforce helped the city to a strong ranking in the Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking's UK Town and City Index.
Overall, Plymouth ranked 26th out of 74 for its favourable business conditions.
In particular, Plymouth scored within the top five in the UK for business costs due to its low house prices and council tax rates.
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Plymouth also scored in the top half of UK towns and cities for talent, as it only has a low level of its population with no qualifications.
Authored by Professor Francis Greene, at Birmingham Business School, the Index is a comprehensive study of the largest 74 conurbations in the UK as well as 32 London boroughs, and is based on 20 factors that drive private sector business competitiveness.
It measures five areas or "domains" that are fundamental for business success in the UK's towns and cities: enterprise, talent, connectivity, costs and well-being.
Plymouth was ranked fifth for costs, with Luton and Birmingham taking the two top places.
The city was 17th for connectivity, 21st for talent, 37th for wellbeing, and 43rd for enterprise. This gave it an overall ranking of 26.
Nationally, Cambridge emerged as the top town or city in the UK for its business competitiveness ahead of long-term academic rival Oxford, with Edinburgh ranked third. Crawley was Fourth and Worthing fifth.
The top London borough was Westminster, ahead of Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond-upon-Thames, Camden and Islington.
Julian Alexander, South West regional director for Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: "The future of the economy depends on our businesses and their success and growth.
"Plymouth has many of the key ingredients that help to support its business community and that have an important role to play in its future success.
"We hope this report will help us further develop our understanding of how a business's needs differ from region to region and how we can tailor our support and local contacts and networks accordingly."
Professor Greene, professor of small business and entrepreneurship at the University of Birmingham, said: "This report utilises an extensive range of official data to build a unique picture of the UK, examining the business 'building blocks' that help make a town more or less business competitive.
"The private sector has been identified as having a pivotal role in helping the UK to emerge from the worst recession for more than two generations.
"The research demonstrates that the conditions for businesses vary from town to town and these can have an impact on a business's development."