Central London boroughs ‘toughest places for small businesses’


A new index this week, by the 200,000-member-strong Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and KPMG, identifies what it says are the best and worst places for small business owners in London.

Kensington & Chelsea borough tops the index as the hardest place to run a small business in London because of higher costs and what it says are greater “local administrative burdens”. 

Bromley, Barking and Dagenham are said to be the most “attractive” or small-business-friendly London boroughs in providing “the least burdensome environment”.

Sue Terpilowski OBE, London Policy Chair, Federation of Small Businesses, said the findings backed up their argument that decisions affecting small businesses should be taken away from local authorities and put in the hands of the Mayor of London.

“Fiscal devolution should be on the political agenda. 

“The Mayor of London, The Greater London Authority, The London Enterprise Panel and Boroughs are in the best position to make tax and investment decisions to benefit not just London but the UK economy moving to 2020 and beyond.”

Kevin Smith, Senior Partner for KPMG’s mid market practice in London, said: “The small and start-up business community is essential to keeping London dynamic.

“With London becoming increasingly expensive, it is imperative that policy makers act to ensure small businesses are not driven to the outskirts of London, with the more accessible parts of the city being left as the playground for the big, global corporates.

“There are undoubtedly huge gains to be won by those local authorities that recognise what is needed to help create and support a thriving small business community on their doorstep. 

“With an army of small businesses set to drive the UK economy forward over the next decade, there are many opportunities for forward thinking councils to turn their fortunes around in becoming magnet towns for small businesses.”

At least 200 FSB members from across the 33 London Boroughs responded of whom 84 per cent of small businesses viewed ‘Broadband quality and availability’ as a significant factor to the success of their business. 

Almost eight in 10 (79 per cent) businesses rated ‘the quality and availability of public transport’ as significant to their business’ success. 

The index found that Havering borough has the greatest infrastructure challenges, while small businesses in Westminster enjoy the most beneficial infrastructure.

Yael Selfin, Head of Macroeconomics at KPMG and author of the report said:

“Performance across London boroughs varies significantly in providing the environment small businesses need to develop and flourish. Small businesses are increasingly reliant on technology in order to attract customers, increase their revenue and keep their businesses running day-to-day, so improving access to reliable, fast broadband is now as important to business owners as the reliability of the trains that carry their staff to work.”

Sue Terpilowski added: “Policymakers can ill afford not to invest in the infrastructural needs of the Capital. Broadband can no longer be considered in isolation, but instead as a fundamental part of planning decisions.”


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