Milton Keynes and Aylesbury firms are among best at using technology to grow their businesses - report

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Milton Keynes and Aylesbury have the fourth highest concentration of digital companies in the UK and the highest in the East Midlands, according to a report commissioned by Google.

The report, carried out by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), has found about 3,200 companies in the area making use of and relying on technology to run their businesses.

With these businesses growing 25 per cent faster than their offline counterparts they are a major economic driver. They also employ on average three more people, 15 per cent more, compared to non-digital economy companies, say the report authors.

The report uses new data from real-time business tracker Growth Intelligence, and draws a map of jobs and growth across the country.

It also reveals just how far traditional sectors, such as manufacturing, architecture and engineering, have embraced digital technology.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “This is an interesting alternative report. As our recently published Information Economy Strategy highlights, innovation, entrepreneurship and growth are spread throughout the UK. The information economy transforms every other business sector, driving productivity and creating new opportunities for growth.”

Dr Max Nathan, senior research fellow at NIESR, said: “Policymakers have identified the digital economy as one of the UK’s key economic strengths. That means they need to be aware of the true numbers of digital businesses around the country. The old image of tech businesses as start-ups that make no money is out of date too: using big data we show a broad array of active businesses selling digital products and services.”

Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, said: “This is a groundbreaking and important report by NIESR not just because it shows that the spread of the digital economy into other sectors is driving growth and jobs throughout the UK but because - for the first time in 65 years - it presents us with a new way of measuring the economy.”