Head North for business: Why Leeds is the biggest business hub outside London


British businesses are heading north! As the price of commercial property soars in the capital and the prospect of a Northern Powerhouse and devolution gathers momentum, moving powers away from the parliamentary elite of Westminster to local authorities, businesses are recognising the sense and appeal of moving out of London and heading north.

The capital’s soaring house prices is exacerbating the trend to migrate north, as northern cities increasingly appeal to those seeking larger property for a fraction of the cost in London. Office of National Statistics figures show that a growing number of 30-somethings are leaving the capital and settling in the northern cities.  Data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows people fleeing London and moving jobs, and the proportion of London’s workers in their thirties who commute to the capital has not increased in recent years.

Employers located in cities outside of London are consequently reaping the benefits of the trend for people of a working age to settle in thriving cities to the north of the M25.

Leeds, the UK’s fastest-growing city, is becoming progressively perceived as a great place to do business, live and work. With a £64.4 billion economy and a workforce of 1.37 million, Leeds is a hub for business growth and prosperity. Over the next ten years, Leeds economy is forecast to increase by 21%, with business and financial services within the city set to create more than half of GVA (Gross Value Added) growth over the next decade.

There are more than 32,000 VAT-registered businesses based in Leeds and over 6,000 SMEs. In 2016, Leeds saw the quickest rise of private sector job growth out of all cities in the UK.

So, what exactly makes Leeds such an attractive location for businesses and people looking for employment?

Great connections

In terms of transportation, Leeds is more than well connected. With the M1 and A1 in close proximity, Leeds is directly linked to London and Edinburgh, as it is with cities to the east and west via the M62.

Leeds also boasts the busiest train station outside of London, where you can be in Manchester within an hour and in London within two. For international travel, Leeds-Bradford Airport travels to 30 countries across Europe, Asia and North America, and is the fastest-growing airport in the UK.

Foreign investment

Leeds is the third largest city in the UK with a population of 751,500 and a GVA of £20 billion. According to the EY Attractiveness Survey 2016, foreign investments into Leeds have risen sharply during the last two years. The Business Location Index ranked Leeds as the fourth most attractive city in the UK outside London for inward investment.

Given the flourishing prosperity and commercial attractiveness of Leeds, some of the biggest names in British businesses are settling in our thriving city – Harvey Nichols, John Lewis, Sky, Burberry and Equifax, are just several leading businesses which have established themselves in Leeds in recent years.

Leeds is also the biggest financial hub outside of London, with two of the UK’s most prominent building societies based in Leeds and First Direct opting to make our prospering Yorkshire city its home over London.

Leeds has long been a popular location for students to study. Many graduates decide to stay on living in Leeds after university to find work and embark on careers. In fact, Leeds Trinity is encouraging its students to work and live in Leeds after they graduate.

In a recent event, some 60 students from Leeds Trinity, Leeds Beckett and the University of Leeds, visited some of the biggest businesses in Leeds, including KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Leeds City Council, to learn about employment opportunities.

Naturally, such a flourishing business hub requires high quality conference facilities to facilitate the huge demand of business meetings, events and conferences taking place across Leeds and its vicinity.

Top quality business accommodation is in demand in Leeds to accommodate the surging commercial events and enterprises taking place in the city all year round.

If you are looking for quality conference facilities in Leeds, Weetwood Hall Estate in Headingley, not far from the city centre, provides modern, flexible and well-equipped conference and meeting rooms to accommodate for our city’s thriving business community.

Whether you are a local business looking for a stylish and well-facilitated venue for a business meeting, or are a business from further afield looking for a contemporary venue to host a conference, get in touch with the Weetwood Hall Estate events’ team today, to discuss all your meeting requirements.

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Categories: Conferences, Meetings