So in an effort to learn what more can be done to inspire continued growth in 2014 and the years to come, Towergate Insurance teamed up with a host of market researchers to find out how Brits perceive their local business climate in comparison to the rest of the globe.
What they found was both surprising and encouraging. It revealed that our nations business community has many major misperceptions about the nations most important economic centres. When given a comparison between Vietnams Ho Chi Minh City and Nottingham, for example, 80 per cent of respondents felt that their business interests were more likely to suffer from industrial action in Nottingham.
Yet, as it turns out, Ho Chi Minh is the far more volatile city when it comes to organised labour movements. Of course, a misconception like this is an important factor in influencing the outsourcing decisions that companies in the UK make every year, and it also underlies other skewed perceptions our nations investors have about the economic climate hereAnother instance being that about three quarters believe Nottingham levies higher taxes on business than Paris does, when in fact the opposite is true.
So the encouraging aspects of the still-ongoing study lie in the implications it has for the UKs financial future. Through education initiatives (and as investors rebuild confidence by seeing positive evolutions in our local financial climate), we can surely motivate more at-home spending, while reducing the incidence of future outsourcing.
The government has already taken major steps forward with their presentation of the 2014 budget, which includes initiatives to stimulate local business growth, encourage domestic investors, and attract foreign investment to crucial sectors. With new tax benefits for business, an apprenticeship expansion scheme, and a doubling of the Direct Lending Scheme; 2014 is shaping up to be a crucial year for our nations economic recovery.
In fact, the UKs economic outlook is already strong. Investors can take comfort in knowing that London now has more American banks than New York City, that one third of British-owned FTSE 100 firms are based in Bristol, and that Manchester was recently ranked Europes top city for business competitiveness.
So the future is looking bright both in London and in far-flung business centres as Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, and Birmingham. Together, through education, awareness, and confident investing; we can put Britain back on track to regain the booming economic atmosphere we enjoyed in the pre-recession era.
Jon Falgate is Digital Content Editor of Towergate.