Milton Keynes has been named the best place in England to do business thanks to its “winning formula.”
The Business Location Index, the most detailed study ever conducted into the business potential of cities and local authority areas in England, found the city beat off competition from 325 other areas around the UK.
The study is a joint project between independent researchers Local Futures and local government journal the MJ (Municipal Journal), who collated hundreds of statistics to build a picture of the attractiveness of towns and cities to investors.
Researchers looked at scores of different criteria to come up with 15 measures in three categories: economic performance, human resources, and environment and infrastructure.
Milton Keynes scored very highly in each category, and as a result was ranked at the top of the Index, as the best place to locate and operate a business.
Milton Keynes was singled out for having a large and growing skilled local workforce, for the number of people working in high tech ‘knowledge businesses’, and for having plenty of available commercial floorspace, as well as for its high productivity, and for the number of new businesses being established.
There are now more than 11,000 firms based in Milton Keynes, and the borough has one of the highest business start-up rates in the UK. 1,360 new companies were established in 2011 and five companies move to or expand in Milton Keynes every month.
Councillor David Hopkins, the council’s cabinet member for economic development and enterprise, said: “The message is very straightforward – if you want to learn, get a job, start or relocate a business and prosper – come to Milton Keynes.
“People who have invested in Milton Keynes say they are attracted by our ‘can do’ attitude as well as our prime location, great facilities and skilled workforce. It’s no wonder that major employers like John Lewis are choosing to invest here. They are opening a second distribution centre, and we’ve working with other big names to attract them to the borough.”
Chief Executive David Hill said: “People and businesses in Milton Keynes have always known that it’s a great place to live and work. But it’s great to see that objectively recognised by the statistical analysis from the Local Futures survey.”
Mr Stewart said: “I am delighted with the findings of this report. It further confirms that Milton Keynes is open for business. Whilst we have ensured that the skills required by employers are available locally, we should continue to engage with them on their future skills requirements so that our city remains the best place to do business.”
Mr Lancaster said: “Having visited many businesses in our city it is no surprise to me that we have done so well. I am delighted to see Milton Keynes on the map as the best place to do business in and whilst we must not be complacent and work hard to remain amongst the best, I hope we continue to maintain this fantastic position for a long time.”
Liberal Democrat Group Leader councillor Douglas McCall said: “Milton Keynes is a great place to work and to live, with all our green open spaces, I’m not surprised that companies want to relocate here”.
Labour Group Leader councillor Norman Miles said: “I came to Milton Keynes in 1978 expecting to stay here perhaps two years. I’m still here, 35 years later. Milton Keynes is a great place to live, work, relax and bring up a family. No wonder so many businesses want to come here”
Terry Murphy, Head of National Distribution Centres for John Lewis, said: “John Lewis has a major presence in Milton Keynes - we have recently announced that we will be creating a further 450 jobs with the development of a second distribution centre and our recently refurbished shop in the town has been trading for over 30 years. It’s a great location for our business with fantastic connectivity and a skilled community who can support our growth.”