Slow broadband holds back city’s business ranking

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Milton Keynes has made it into a bank’s list of the top 20 UK towns and cities despite being held back by slow broadband speed.

The new city has been ranked 19th by the Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking’s UK Town and City Index based on 20 factors that drive private sector business competitiveness.

Report author Professor Francis Greene at Birmingham Business School said: “It is pretty clear that Milton Keynes does fantastically well... except for its internet connectivity.

“One of the things about Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes is the sheer vibrancy of its business population. What is clear is that it is being held back by this connectivity issue.”

Professor Greene said the new city would be “significantly higher” on the ranking if its internet connectivity was better but he declined to hazard a guess to its position.

The city ranked ninth for enterprise, 21st for talent, was bottom of the pile of 74 for connectivity, in 60th place for costs and in joint 13th place for well-being.

Within the enterprise category Milton Keynes was rated highly for having a relatively larger business base per 10,000 of the population, a large number of business start ups and a large private sector.

Peter O’Gorman, regional director for Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “The future of the economy depends on our businesses and their success and growth. Milton Keynes has many of the key ingredients that help to support its business community and will have an important role to play in its future success.” Santander has a large presence in the city.

The index studied the largest 74 conurbations in the UK as well as 32 London boroughs

Nationally, Cambridge emerged as the top town or city in the UK for its business competitiveness ahead of long-term academic rival, Oxford, with Edinburgh ranked third.