M4 Corridor remains hotbed for start-ups with the rest of the UK lagging behind
Staines is the UK's number one town for business creation, producing the largest increase in the total number of businesses per capita, with 43 more new businesses per 10,0000 population than a year ago*, reveals research by UHY Hacker Young, the national accountancy group.
UHY Hacker Young says that the commuter town long-mocked as Ali G's birthplace has established itself as a hotspot for new business creation, attracting many high-technology businesses with its proximity to the prestigious "M4 Corridor".
The town also boasts strong transport links offering quick access to both Central London and Heathrow airport, in a prime location for national and international trade.
UHY Hacker Young adds that the relatively low office rents compared with more established areas within the "M4 Corridor" make Staines an ideal base for start-ups.
Colin Jones, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, explains:
"Staines has been viewed by some as down at heel but it's clearly successful at bringing through new businesses.
"The shadow of Ali G hit the town's reputation but it is undergoing a dramatic transformation. The name change to Staines-upon-Thames embodies the town's development into a serious economic centre.
"Staines offers the perfect mix of proximity to London, low rents and a fast-growing community of start-ups.
"The M4 Corridor has always had a strong reputation with cultivating technology start-ups and Staines is the latest area that SMEs are choosing as a base.
"Staines had previously struggled to attract new businesses to the area but the Council have ramped up their efforts to promote the benefits of relocating to the town and have seen their efforts rewarded."
Examples of major businesses with a major presence in Staines include Salesforce, Cisco, Samsung and Siemens.
Dominance of Home Counties in study of new business growth highlights North/South divide
Out of the 20 areas in the UK that have experienced the strongest net growth of new businesses in the last year, 13 are located within the Home Counties (see table below).
Areas in the Midlands accounted for five of the top 20 areas of the UK which saw the highest net growth, including popular commuter hotspots such as Northampton and towns that attract large numbers of workers in the financial and professional services, such as Warwick.
UHY Hacker Young explains that the dominance of the Home Counties in the list of areas which have seen the fastest growth in net new businesses suggests that despite Government schemes to address the North/South economic divide, it is actually widening.
Government proposals to rebalance the economic gap between the North and South include the "Northern Powerhouse" scheme, which aims to boost economic growth across Northern England partly by devolving economic decision-making and improving transport links.
Top 20 areas with the largest rise in net new businesses in the last year
Some areas have even seen a decrease in the net number of new businesses
* Number of net new businesses per 10,000. Year end December 31st 2013, latest figures available.