London wins accolade as number one business city in Europe

7th Ocotber 2009

London today celebrates another year at the top after winning the accolade as the number one European city in which to locate a business for the 20th year in a row.

The European Cities Monitor report 2009 from Cushman & Wakefield surveyed executives in charge of location at 500 of Europe's largest companies. 

They ranked London as the number one city in which to locate a business. Extending its lead on nearest rival Paris, London came first in all three major rating criteria: access to markets, talent supply and connectivity (digital and physical).

UK Minister for Trade, Investment and Small Business Lord Davies of Abersoch said:

"As the global recession eases, London is more than ever a natural hub for businesses seeking to set up and expand in Europe. It is Europe's financial centre but also a hotbed for talent in creative industries and information technology. This survey underlines the findings of the World Bank that the UK is the best place for business in Europe. There's never been a better time for international firms to set up in London and UK Trade & Investment is your first port of call."

James Young, City of London office head, Cushman & Wakefield, said:

"Since the collapse of Lehman Brothers just over a year ago, London has been through a pretty turbulent time.  This year's survey, however, is evidence that it has not lost its position as Europe's and probably the world's leading business and financial centre.  Major corporates clearly still recognise that its critical mass of talent, facilities and infrastructure combine to deliver a compelling location for business.  Although office space remains relatively more expensive than other European capitals, costs have come down considerably this year and occupiers looking at locating here will find historically low rents which are likely to remain competitive until well in to 2010 at least.  As the host for the 2012 Olympic Games it will also benefit from one of the largest domestic investments in infrastructure ever seen."

The World Bank found in its Doing Business Report 2010, published last month, that the UK was the best place to do business in Europe, ranking 5th in the world. 

Five new companies decide to set up business in the UK every day, according to figures released by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) earlier this year.

Firms that have set up in London this year include leading Chinese banks, the China Merchants Bank and the China Construction Bank. The State Bank of India also announced last month that it was planning to expand its network in London and the UK.

But London is not just attractive for financial services. China's e-commerce company, Japan's Canon Europe and the US' Coca-Cola all have their European headquarters in London.

Indian based Visual Entertainment Services group Prime Focus is an example of a small and medium-sized firm that has prospered in London. After establishing a base in Soho three years ago, it now employs 270 staff in the UK capital and has experience of working on films including the Harry Potter series and James Bond.

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