Unleash the potential of UK small firms - Business Works
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Unleash the potential of UK small firms

Jamie Hopkins, CEO, Workspace Group Policy makers should do much more to stimulate the growth of the UKís small businesses, according to a new report. 'Size Matters: The Importance of Small Firms in Londonís Economy', is published by independent think tank, The Centre for Cities, in association with Workspace Group. The report highlights the big contribution made by a small number of high growth firms in particular and claims that the current policies of national and local government are too generic and ineffective at supporting their growth.

Small firms have become increasingly important to city economies over the past decade:

  • Since 2000, the number of small firms in UK cities has grown by 43%, while the number of medium-sized firms grew by just 4% and the number of large firms declined by 30%
  • By 2010, 96% of private sector firms were small firms (employing fewer than 50 people)
  • By 2010, small firms accounted for more than half of all private sector jobs in UK cities
  • Despite the overall number of private sector jobs declining by 2% over the past decade, the number of jobs provided by small firms grew by 10%

The report focuses on the experience of smaller firms in London, the most enterprising city in the UK. Since 2000, the number of small firms in London has grown by 50%, but because of the success of the London economy, constraints on space and rising rents mean that there is a real danger that Londonís smaller firms will no longer be able to access those locations that provide the vital links to other businesses and transport infrastructure upon which many depend.

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"The small business sector is a very large market, within which are the fastest growing companies in the economy." said Jamie Hopkins, Chief Executive of Workspace Group. "It is these firms which are the major contributors to economic growth. At Workspace, we are right at the heart of this supporting a large number of those firms in the most innovative and dynamic sector in London and the UK."

"It is these businesses that should be the focus of government policy. Local authorities have an important role to play but they must be realistic about what they can achieve alone; public-private partnerships are critical to delivering business growth and local regeneration."

The report focuses on the experience of smaller firms in London, the most enterprising city in the UK. Since 2000, the number of small firms in London has grown by 50%. But because of the success of the London economy constraints on space and rising rents mean that there is a real danger that Londonís smaller firms will no longer be able to access those locations that provide the vital links to other businesses and transport infrastructure upon which many depend.

The report makes recommendations to address this challenge. It calls on Government, the GLA and London Boroughs and to work together to enable small, business-facing, firms to continue to locate in Londonís core and to the West near Heathrow. This means, for example, ensuring that public sector property assets are reviewed to make sure that prime space in central local authorities can be made available to smaller firms on flexible and affordable terms.

The report (download here) advocates that other measures should be introduced to support smaller firms, including targeting a portion of 'super-connected cities' funding to deliver the digital infrastructure businesses need to succeed in central London and its fringes.



For more information, please visit: www.workspace.co.uk



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