Procurement · 12 December 2017

Belfast tops list of most improved cities for business survival

Northern Ireland
Belfast showed a 44 per cent fall in the rate of business closures

A study revealing the business survival rates in 64 UK towns and cities has found Belfast to be the most improved.

Between 2010 and 2015, the Northern Ireland capital showed a 44 per cent decrease in the rate of businesses closing in the city, making it the most improved location in the UK.

In England, Blackpool recorded a better business survival rate than any other city for the period. With a population of 240,000, the seaside destination experienced a 23.63 per cent fall in business closures between 2010 and 2015.

The findings, published as part of a study from London insolvency practice Hudson Weir, showed that 60 per cent of UK cities with the most improved business survival rates were in the North of England.

With Belfast topping the list of most improved cities, the remaining four of the study’s top five improved locations for business survival were in England.

Read more: Why local SEO strategies can hold the key to survival for independent retailers

Whilst Blackpool came in second, Mansfield, Sunderland and Worthing made up the study’s top five most improved locations. Overall, the study revealed that business survival rates across the UK had improved three per cent on average.

Director at Hudson Weir, Hasib Howlader, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that despite worries over Brexit having a restricting effect on UK businesses, many areas are seeing a significant improvement in business survival rates, particularly in the North of England.

Despite the overall improvement, some of the UK’s largest business hubs like London and Edinburgh showed surprising results, with rates of business closures actually rising in these cities.

Between 2010 and 2015, Edinburgh showed a 11 per cent rise in business closures, whereas London showed a nine per cent rise.

Rapidly increasing business rates, combined with other increasing costs related to renting commercial property, are thought to have contributed to the increase in business closure rates in these major cities, with their communities of smaller businesses and startups the most affected.

The UK’s five worst towns and cities in terms of the increasing rates at which businesses closed were Northampton (34 per cent), Aberdeen (34 per cent), Plymouth (20 per cent), Luton (18 per cent) and Oxford (17 per cent).

Howlader went on to say that more needed to be done to protect businesses, particularly in parts of the UK performing poorly economically.  He added: “It is clear that there are areas in the UK where businesses continue to struggle due to varying factors such as the weak pound, increased price of imports and increasing overheads.

“Early intervention is key to business turnaround and recovery, [and] any business concerned about their long-term success should seek advice from an insolvency specialist.”

Top ten cities showing the greatest decrease (per cent) in business closure rates

City Percentage decrease 2010 to 2015
Belfast -44.24
Blackpool -23.63
Mansfield -22.79
Sunderland -20.03
Worthing -15.66
Bournemouth -13.57
Burnley -12.52
Portsmouth -12.10
Coventry -11.47
Barnsley -11.33


Top Ten cities showing the greatest increase (per cent) in business closure rates

City Percentage increase 2010 to 2015
Northampton +34.66
Aberdeen +34.12
Plymouth +20.74
Luton +18.01
Oxford +17.09
Crawley +13.23
Edinburgh +11.74
London +9.93
Cambridge +8.40
Doncaster +7.77

Read more: Brexit and interest rates pose greatest threats to business survival in next two years

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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