Regional firms 'catching up with London'

Regional businesses are catching up with small firms in London.

This is according to new figures from Barclays, which found that the gap between the rate of growth for London businesses and those outside the capital is narrowing.

Small businesses in London recorded a 10 per cent growth rate in the first quarter of the year, closely followed by the South West at 9.3 per cent, the North West at 9 per cent, and Yorkshire at 8.7 per cent.

Growth rates were split more dramatically by industry. Property firms recorded an average growth of 16.9 per cent, compared with the average of 8.1 per cent. Average growth in the first quarter of last year was just 2.7 per cent.

But a separate survey suggests that other measures of growth remain highly uneven. Figures compiled by UHY Hacker Young suggest that all but three of the top 20 areas in the UK for start-ups were in London during 2013/14. The EC1V postcode, known as Silicon Roundabout due to its popularity amongst small tech firms, boasted 15,620 start-ups alone during the period.

UHY Hacker Young’s Colin Jones said: “Silicon Roundabout has maintained its position as the epicentre of the UK’s technology industry. With so many start-ups and established businesses in the area, it is no longer hype to compare it to Silicon Valley, or TechHub Berlin.

“However rising rents in the Silicon Roundabout area mean that many start-ups are now choosing areas south of the River Thames, or East London as their first base.”

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