Edinburgh continues to be most prosperous city outside London

Edinburgh continues to be the most prosperous UK city outside London with lower unemployment and higher disposable income than anywhere else.

Tuesday, 19th September 2017, 10:07 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 12:02 pm
Footfall on Princes Street at the beginning of the year was down on last year's figures. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The Capital also has the highest proportion of highly skilled occupations of any UK city, including London, according to data in the latest Edinburgh by Numbers publication produced by the city council.

Unemployment rates in Edinburgh have been lower than other major UK cities in each of the past ten calendar years. The latest figures show joblessness in the Capital at 4.4 per cent last year. The unemployment rate did rise in the years following the economic crash – from 4.3 per cent in 2007 to a peak of 7.1 per cent in 2013 but it was always significantly lower than other major UK cities.

Edinburgh has a higher percentage (72.8 per cent) of the working-age population in employment than the average of major UK cities, though Bristol tops the table at 76.2 per cent and Leeds and London are also both above Edinburgh.

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Top reasons in Edinburgh for being economically inactive include being a student (42 per cent) or being retired (15.3 per cent).

The Capital has the highest average disposable income per resident at £21,200, well ahead of second-placed Bristol with £17,900.

Edinburgh has a larger proportion of high skilled occupations, at 40.1 per cent, than other UK cities including the London region.

Health emerges as the sector with the largest proportion of the Capital’s workforce (15.4 per cent) with finance and insurance next at 10.8 per cent – twice the average in other UK cities.

There were a total of 324,000 jobs located in the city in 2015 – 30 per cent or 98,400 of them based in the city centre and another nine per cent or 28,500 in Leith and Leith Walk.

Edinburgh had the third best survival rate for new businesses – with 42 per cent still going after five years, compared with 43.1 per cent in Sheffield and 42.3 per cent in Bristol.

The value of goods and services produced in Edinburgh - known as GVA (Gross Valued Added) - was higher per head than in other UK cities outside London.

There were a total of 19,285 businesses registered in the city, 1000 of them employing more than 250 people.

The fastest growing sectors, in terms of number of businesses, were financial services – up 46.4 per cent in the five years to 2016 – and information and communication, up 46 per cent, The only sector to see a decline was wholesale, retail and repair – down 2.4 per cent.

Footfall on Princes Street was highest in December and August, though August’s was down 2.7 per cent on the previous year while December’s was up 6.6 per cent. And higher footfall does not automatically mean more sales.

Edinburgh came third outside London for foreign direct investment projects last year –24, compared with 26 in Glasgow and 33 in Manchester. But it was second for jobs created by such investment, recording 1243 new posts compared to Sheffield’s 1363.

Economy convener Councillor Gavin Barrie said: “The city has much to be positive about. Edinburgh is a vibrant capital city with a diverse economy, an increasing population and strong investment potential.”