Capital no longer ‘the best Scottish city for business’

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Edinburgh has lost its crown as the best Scottish city to do business in, according to a respected new industry survey.

The Capital has slipped to 31st out of Europe’s 36 main business centres – one place below west coast rival Glasgow – according to a survey of senior executives from 501 European companies.

It tumbled down the rankings after its score on a range of factors, including transport links, languages spoken, access to customers, availability of qualified staff and quality of telecommunications, all declined compared with last year.

Business leaders said that the beleaguered tram project may have impacted on Edinburgh’s international reputation.

However, the city did score highly on two categories, being judged the seventh least polluted city and the 11th best city for the quality of life of staff.

Graham Birse, managing director of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “Its position in relation to Glasgow is not a concern. We would like to see both cities climb up that league table because inward investors will look at both as symptomatic of Scotland as a location.

“We can’t be complacent about Edinburgh’s offer. There is so much that is fantastic, such as the festivals, the awards that have been collected and the strength of tourism. But there are ways to join the dots and align our offer to investors. Recent experience of the tram has not helped because it has given the impression of a city that can’t deliver infrastructure. But we are, hopefully, over the short-term impact of that.”

Glasgow’s position fell from 29th last year, which was two places below Edinburgh, to 30th this year, one place above the Capital.

The findings of property firm Cushman and Wakefield’s annual European Cities Monitor show that Edinburgh’s biggest declines came in the two transport categories.

Edinburgh was 30th in terms of how easy it was to travel within the city, down from 21st last year, and 25th for transport links with other cities, down from 23rd last year.

Andy Cunningham, head of office agency for Cushman and Wakefield, said: “It seems that there is a gap between European business leaders’ perceptions of our two cities and the actual reality of what is going on here, and that is a challenge that the business sectors in both Glasgow and Edinburgh have to address.”

Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city’s economic development leader, said: “I am delighted to see that senior executives continue to perceive Edinburgh as among the most attractive European cities in which to locate their business.

“We have seen numerous large-scale investments in the past year from the likes of Amazon, Mitsubishi, Virgin Money, State Street, BlackRock and Avaloq, who are creating hundreds of new long-term employment opportunities.

“Edinburgh has proven itself resilient in these difficult times but we need to work hard to ensure this trend continues.”

mblackley@edinburghnews.com

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