Friday, September 05, 2008
Darlington - a great place to do business
Wednesday's Financial Times had a fascinating piece about the relative competitiveness of towns and cities around the country.
It arose from a survey by the Centre for International Competitiveness at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, and came just weeks after a Conservative think-tank recommended abandoning attempts to regenerate northern cities and promoting migration to the south.
Professor Robert Huggins, who has compiled the index since 2000, said further migration to the south would only accentuate existing problems. "Our research strongly suggests that urban development in the UK is achieving a significant degree of success."
There was very good news for us - the second biggest riser in competitiveness since 2006 is Darlington, where we have sharply improved the skills of our workforce and raised the number of business start-ups per 1,000 inhabitants by more than 10 per cent. The report noted that new businesses include Argos, employing 600, and Infoserve, which employs 185 people on helping small businesses market their services online.
Working with the business community and Government agencies, our Labour Council has helped bring forward important new opportunities for new business at Morton Palms, Faverdale and Lingfield Point. £1 million has been invested in small business development as a result of the BAT/Rothmans legacy.
It's a strong platform for the future.