This year has seen Manchester begin to rise and dominate the headlines as the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. The advancement of the country’s devolution programme has seen the growth rate increase and has unloaded further power upon both local governments and councils – brought about by June’s Brexit vote. This is not only relinquishing more political power but also attracting higher levels of foreign and domestic investment into the city. Although while all the headlines have focused on Manchester; Birmingham has been striding forward in the background, a recent study by Knight Frank states how the city is becoming ‘Britain’s business hotspot’, growing at a faster rate than that of its rivals!
Birmingham and Manchester have both seen an increase in commercial investment of late, firstly due to the devolution, but also due to the prices of estate in London. For a long time now the office sector in London has had prices incomparable with anywhere else situated in the United Kingdom. The rental prices were as high as £55.34 per sq ft in June 2015, even higher than 2014 when they hit £51.56 per sq ft. This creates attraction to the regions and makes them more attainable to infant industries and companies alike.
When examining the reasons behind the Birmingham-based growth, the HS2 project appears to be the shining light. The proposed changes are set for completion in 2026, although this may seem distant, the fact that the scheme is in place encourages investment to Birmingham because it will increase direct trade from the Capital and make it sustainable for more inner-city business! City centre investment and the rejuvenation of Birmingham has also proved to be strong factors in its success. Funds have recently been attracted from countries such as China towards residential redevelopment, this not only encourages higher income households to join the area but also creates a more attractive and physically appealing city centre.
So who is the REAL regional powerhouse?!
Bradley Flatt, Consultant, General Practice, Foundation Recruitment