Britain’s best cities for business announced

The UK’s top cities for business have been announced by Management Today.

Manchester won the coveted top spot, easily defeating Birmingham but only narrowly beating Bristol, in the inaugural “21 Best Towns and Cities in Britain for Business”, which rates major urban centres, excluding London, on their appeal as places to run and grow talent-hungry, knowledge-based companies.

The UK’s 63 biggest towns and cities were assessed on metrics including productivity, the depth of the talent pool, the strength of innovation, the scale of the private sector ecosystem and the rate of growth. These results were collated and carefully weighted to produce a shortlist of 21, which was then ranked by a panel of expert judges with reference to the data and submissions from the cities themselves.

After a robust deliberation – the results were far from unanimous – the judges agreed the final ranking:

  1. Manchester
  2. Bristol
  3. Leeds
  4. Edinburgh
  5. Reading
  6. Glasgow
  7. Cardiff
  8. Milton Keynes
  9. Birmingham
  10. Liverpool
  11. Cambridge
  12. Brighton
  13. Slough
  14. Nottingham
  15. Southampton
  16. Newcastle
  17. Bournemouth
  18. Warrington
  19. Aberdeen
  20. Leicester
  21. Northampton

Major cities Belfast, Sheffield, Oxford and Peterborough all failed to make the shortlist.

Adam Gale, editor, Management Today, said: “London rightly has a world-class reputation, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the country should live in its shadow. There are great business hubs across the UK that deserve recognition.

“There was a lively discussion over the winner in particular, but Manchester deserves the top spot. What set it apart was the concerted effort of its employers and local authorities to make Manchester as successful in the 21st Century as it was in the 19th.”

Judge’s comments:

“What does it mean for a city to be the ‘best for business’? For me, the standout cities came across as really ‘user-friendly’ in how they respond to business.” – David Landsman, former executive director of Tata Group, Europe

“The UK is brimming with entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and talent; it’s vital that we recognise this and shine a light on the cities and towns leading the way.” – Simon Rogerson, CEO and co-founder, Octopus Group

“We have found a worthy winner and a credible runner up, both of which could provide the talent, infrastructure and experience needed for success.” – Anne O’Donnell, CEO, Procorre

“Despite the strength of London, it would be wrong to assume there aren’t exciting business opportunities available outside the capital.” –  Jim Hubbard, head of regional policy, CBI