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TECH WAR: Brummies say firms 'lose out' in London's Tech City

Black Country business chiefs puff up Birmingham tech scene

Old Street Roundabout, credit Wikimedia

The business bods of Birmingham have commissioned a survey designed to tempt startups away from the British capital's Silicon Roundabout scene.

A group called Business Birmingham commissioned a survey whose questions highlighted the high costs of doing business in London, likely hoping attracting talent away from from the metropolis.

YouGov carried out the survey on the Tech City scheme, which is centred around Old Street roundabout.

Pollsters were tasked with questioning 155 managers of small to medium-sized firms in London and reported 70 per cent of respondents as saying they were "struggling to grow". Just under half said it was "too expensive" to run a business in London, while about a quarter said they could not find decent staff.

Wouter Schuitemaker, investment director of Business Birmingham, said his city was wide open for any firm who had tired of London.

"We're seeing a surge in interest from innovative tech firms, which are desperate to grow but are struggling to upscale their operations in London to meet customer demand. Companies cannot afford to lose out on new business or organic growth due to their location," he said.

Birmingham is home to 6,000 tech firms which pump £768m into the economy, with big companies like online clothing superstore Asos and Virgin Media calling the city home.

However, London hit back at its Brummie rivals, saying Tech City was not as expensive as ... other parts of London.

In a statement, a Tech City spokesman said: "This is not a picture we recognise. We now have over 1,500 companies benefiting from the access to talent and investment that the Tech City community provide.

“Rents in Tech City are still half the price of west London and cheaper than King’s Cross and the City. Increases are caused by demand from a lot of growing companies combined with constrained supply.

“We’re working hard with developers to help them understand the needs of growing tech companies to help increase affordable office space.” ®

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