Woooooah, we’re halfway there. Our countdown towards finding which of the 63 towns and cities in the UK has been the best over the past decade for starting a small business has reached 2015 – a year which saw political and economic changes affecting businesses of all sizes.
So what were the major events of that year, and which places thrived and struggled for the small business community under the conditions at the time?
2015 in focus: Conservatives win a majority in the General Election
David Cameron’s Conservatives surprised many by enjoying an outright victory at the 2015 General Election. Not only did this put an end to the five-year coalition with the Liberal Democrats, but the election claimed three leadership scalps – those of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, along with Labour’s Ed Milliband and UKIP’s Nigel Farage. It was also Cameron’s 2015 re-election which accelerated the events of Brexit, a key election pledge being to hold an in/out EU referendum.
There was plenty of news affecting businesses during the year. In April, it was reported that economic growth during Q1 had halved to just 0.3%, but this was tempered by better jobs news with unemployment hitting a seven-year low in May. However, this, in turn, was followed by HSBC announcing plans to close several branches across the UK, at a loss of 8,000 jobs.
New consumer protections were brought in during October by the Government, meaning any faulty goods could be returned within 30 days with consumers receiving a full refund. And in the same month, a sign of things to come took place with telecoms firm Talk Talk becoming victims of a serious cyber attack.
Where was it best to start a business in 2015?
Northampton again took the crown that it first won in 2013 as it was named the Best Place To Start A Small Business in 2015 – taking into account factors including pollution, house prices, access to a skilled workforce and overall business figures. Reading and London completed the top three, while Warrington rose to its highest position of fifth.
Northampton’s success was due in part to it being the most prolific place for business start-ups in 2015 outside of the capital. More than 100 businesses were created per 10,000 population, placing Northampton in a much stronger position than large cities such as Manchester (59.92) and Glasgow (47.05).
The Top 10 Best Places To Start A Business In The UK 2015
(change from last year’s position in brackets)
Not many years to go now as our quest to find out where was the Best Place To Start A Small Business over the past decade nears its end. Tomorrow, we’ll look back at 2016, and a certain referendum vote that caused no controversy whatsoever…