Birmingham Beats London as UK's 'Best to Invest' Location

There has been no shortage of accolades for regional cities around the UK of late. From the business powerhouse of Warrington and the onward march of development in Liverpool and the Wirral, to the startup-friendly initiatives in regional towns like Stafford, businesses of all sizes around the UK are benefiting from a rich and rewarding support network.And as we have seen, it is helping to strengthen the UK economy and create a brighter future for the business community.

One city that is enjoying its fair share of ongoing development and media attention is Birmingham; and the pace of investment within the UK's second city is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

According to corporate real estate magazine Site Selection, Birmingham has been recognised as the best place in the UK for businesses to invest.

The international publication released its sixth annual Best to Invest rankings, which grades locations around the world based on their success at attracting investment projects. The list focuses on a combination of factors including growth in new facilities, capital investment, economic strength and infrastructure.

In the Western European metropolitan list, Birmingham was placed 2nd behind Barcelona, which makes it the best location in the UK for inward investment. The full list for Western Europe is as follows:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Madrid, Spain
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Erfurt, Germany
  • Athens, Greece
  • Limerick, Ireland
  • Antwerp, Belgium

The result, according to Wouter Schuitemaker of Business Birmingham, the city’s official inward investment programme, "confirms Birmingham’s status as one of the most attractive places in the world for firms to set up".

Schuitemaker says that the city created or safeguarded more than 4,000 jobs in 2012/13, boosting the region’s economy by £174 million. It secured 41 inward investment projects during this period, the highest on record, which is a 52% rise against a national increase of 11%.

The city was recently awarded ‘FDI Destination of the Future 2013’ and recognised as the most attractive UK regional city for quality of life (Mercer 2014). Birmingham also retained its position as the top UK events destination outside London in the annual British Meetings & Events Industry Survey (BMEIS 2013/14).

And the good news is set to continue. Birmingham has launched a '15 in 15' campaign for next year, which focuses on 15 pivotal development projects in 2015. Among them, 2015 will see:

  • Completion of the £600million redevelopment of New Street Station;
  • The NIA's £26million refurbishment;
  • Opening of the new £127million Midland Metro line in Birmingham city centre;
  • The Rugby World Cup, which comes to Villa Park in the autumn.

Businesses looking to become established in Birmingham or the West Midlands can take advantage of UBC's range of offices, which are SME-friendly and come with flexible, short-term options. Find out more about UBC's trio of Birmingham offices or find workspace in other parts of the Midlands here.