Edinburgh is Scotland’s economic powerhouse, research shows

Edinburgh's hospitality sector has been boosted by the success of its festivals. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Edinburgh's hospitality sector has been boosted by the success of its festivals. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Edinburgh’s position as Scotland’s economic powerhouse has been unveiled by new research which shows business activity in the heart of the capital tops other parts of the country.

The Edinburgh Central Holyrood constituency has more businesses than anywhere else in Scotland it has emerged, with analysis by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) finding the area is home to over 7,000 firms.

Neighbouring Edinburgh Pentlands has the fastest growing local business community in the country.

Three of the five Scottish Parliament constituencies with the fastest growing business communities were found to be in the capital.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson, the MSP for Edinburgh Central, said: “It’s great to see Edinburgh Central top the list as Scotland’s most enterprising constituency and it confirms the capital’s reputation 
as a world-leading destination and a global financial powerhouse.

“Like all cities across the UK, the last few years have been challenging, but firms across Edinburgh have shown real resilience to keep going. With so much redevelopment now on track across the city, the future looks set fair.”

The ongoing success of the capital’s festivals has helped boost the hospitality sector in the city, while the strength of the financial and corporate sector remains strong as it continues to recover from the crash.

Gordon McDonald, who represents Edinburgh Pentlands, said the increased influence of leading universities in the constituency at Heriot-Watt and Napier has been a “key factor” in hike in activity across the area.

But Andy Willox of the FSB pointed to the success of less affluent areas like Glasgow Provan, which has seen the second biggest spike in growth, with Motherwell and Wishaw sitting seventh.

“While you might expect densely populated wealthy areas to have a large business population, it is interesting to see so many traditionally less affluent areas snapping at their heels,” he said.

“No matter their party or geography, Scotland’s MSPs know the vital contribution that smaller firms make to their constituencies’ economies and local communities. But we know that some in business are too modest for their own good.

“That’s why we’re launching these awards to find the best small business talent.”

The figures have been collated ahead of the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018 to identify the country’s best smaller firms in January.

Constituencies with largest business population

Rank / constituency / No. of biz (2016)

1 Edinburgh Central 7,065

2 Glasgow Kelvin 6,715

3 Aberdeenshire West 4,720

4 Aberdeen Central 4,260

5 Aberdeenshire East 4,205

6 Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch 3,900

7 Caithness, Sutherland and Ross 3,885

8 Banffshire and Buchan Coast 3,465

9 Aberdeen South and North Kincardine 3,295

10 Stirling 3,270

Constituencies with biggest business growth

Rank / constituency / growth in biz 2010-2016

1 Edinburgh Pentlands 48%

2 Glasgow Provan 43%

3 Edinburgh Eastern 40%

4 Edinburgh Northern and Leith 37%

5 Glasgow Anniesland 35%

6 Aberdeen South and North Kincardine 31%

7 Motherwell and Wishaw 31%

8 (=) Strathkelvin and Bearsden 30%

8 (=) Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse 30%

8 (=) Edinburgh Western 30%

8 (=) Almond Valley 30%

8 (=) Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn 30%

8 (=) Cumbernauld and Kilsyth 30%