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A Decade In Business: Looking Back To 2016

Over the past week or so, Informi has been looking back at each year in the past decade reminding ourselves of some of the key events affecting business and the wider world.

But when the decade as a whole is focused on by historians in years to come, there can be little doubt that the events of one day will be discussed, debated, and assessed as a day that changed the course of our nation’s history. That date was 23 June 2016.


2016 in focus: Brexit

Love it or hate it, the EU Referendum result, declared the morning after Britons took to the polls in their thousands, dominated headlines not only during 2016 but in every year since. The majority of business lobbying groups and trade organisations condemned the result, but some large business owners, including those from Timpsons and JD Wetherspoons, supported the public’s verdict.

The markets didn’t respond well, however. London’s stock market plunged by more than 8% immediately with the pound falling to its lowest levels against the dollar since 1985. The UK lost another AAA rating, this time from ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, and interest rates were cut to just 0.25% – a new record low – soon after. The result also led to Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation.

Aside from Brexit, British steelmaker Tata Steel reported that it was to sell off its British operations in a move to save money, while a new national living wage came into force on 1 April – meaning all employees aged 25 or over should be paid at least £7.20 an hour. French energy giant EDF meanwhile approved investment in a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, while fracking plans at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road in Lancashire were approved by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.


Where was it best to start a business in 2016?

Amid the turmoil, our research showed that for the third time in the decade, Northampton topped the charts as the Best Place To Start A Small Business, narrowly ahead of Reading and Brighton.

Worthing, Southampton, and Bournemouth were also included in the top ten, in a strong showing for southern ports.



The Top 10 Best Places To Start A Business In The UK 2016

(change from last year’s position in brackets)

  UK town/city
1. Northampton (0)
2. Reading (0)
3. Brighton (+1)
4. London (-1)
5. Worthing (+14)
6. Southampton (+7)
7. Bournemouth (+4)
8. Bristol (-1)
9. Edinburgh (+3)
10. York (+10)


We’re getting there in our countdown towards the Best Place To Start A Small Business across the entire decade. Look out for our 2017 rewind blog tomorrow.

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