With small businesses helping provide the driving force behind the current growth in the UK economy, a new index released today by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and KPMG has identified the best and worst places for small business owners in London.
Kensington & Chelsea Borough tops the index as the hardest place to run a small business in London, due to higher costs and greater local administrative burdens. The index also found Bromley, Barking and Dagenham stand out as the most attractive boroughs in the Capital for small business owners to operate in, by providing the least burdensome environment.
Sue Terpilowski OBE, London Policy Chair, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The diverse burdens on the inner and outer London economy add further weight to our argument that fiscal devolution should be on the political agenda. The Mayor of London, The Greater London Authority, The London Enterprise Panel and Boroughs are in the best position to make tax and investment decisions to benefit not just London but the UK economy moving to 2020 and beyond.”
Kevin Smith, Senior Partner for KPMG’s mid market practice in London, said: “The small and start-up business community is essential to keeping the Capital dynamic, innovative and attracting foreign investment to London. However, with the Capital becoming increasingly expensive, it is imperative that policy makers act to ensure that small businesses are not driven to the outskirts of London, with the more accessible parts of the city being left as the playground for the big, global corporates.”
The Index featured a survey of 200 FSB members from across the 33 London Boroughs. In the survey 84% of small businesses viewed ‘Broadband quality and availability’ as a significant factor to the success of their business. Almost eight in 10 (79%) businesses rated ‘the quality and availability of public transport’ as significant to their business’ success. The index found that Havering borough has the greatest infrastructure challenges, while small businesses in Westminster enjoy the most beneficial infrastructure.
Yael Selfin, Head of Macroeconomics at KPMG and author of the report commented: “Performance across London boroughs varies significantly in providing the environment small businesses need to develop and flourish. Small businesses are increasingly reliant on technology in order to attract customers, increase their revenue and keep their businesses running day-to-day, so improving access to reliable, fast broadband is now as important to business owners as the reliability of the trains that carry their staff to work.”
On the specific burdens, Terpilowski adds: “What is clear that policymakers can ill afford not to invest in the infrastructural needs of the Capital. Furthermore, broadband can no longer be considered in isolation, but instead as a fundamental part of planning decisions.”
When looking ahead, Smith concludes: “There are undoubtedly huge gains to be won by those local authorities that recognise what is needed to help create and support a thriving small business community on their doorstep. With an army of small businesses set to drive the UK economy forward over the next decade, there are many opportunities for forward thinking councils to turn their fortunes around in becoming magnet towns for small businesses.”
View a heatmap of London Borough
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Notes to Editors
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This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.