UK Council Ranking

Using Beauhurst data, we’ve ranked UK councils on growth, innovation and trade.
Lily Ruaah,
 1 May 2024
Table of contents

If you didn’t already hear, we recently launched the UK’s first-ever encyclopaedia of local business data. The Local Growth Index profiles every local council across the UK to reveal never-before-seen insights, covering all 5.43m active companies, including:

The book gives you the tools to make a real impact on your local economy. Download your copy today.

Methodology for the book

The data used in this book comes from the Beauhurst platform. It is accurate as of 19 January 2024. You can access real-time data with a platform subscription.

The book contains a page for every Local Authority in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland).

Each Local Authority page shows data on private limited companies, registered with Companies House, which are located within that Local Authority. This does not include sole traders, charities, or public companies.

A company’s inclusion in a Local Authority is based on its head office where possible, otherwise the registered office is used.

To find out more information about the methodology of the book, please check pages 416-417 of the book.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect from your digital copy.

Councils by growth in number of active companies

Over 2023, Camden saw the highest growth in number of active companies, coming out miles in front of the second runner, with 29k more active companies than in 2022. That’s 21% more than in the previous year for the area.

Whereas Islington, although in second place, only had 12,880 more active companies, that’s over 10k less than Camden. Camden, located in the North of London, has become an exciting place for startups and scaleups. In fact, in 2021, Camden was named London’s Startup Capital.

Councils by combined turnover of companies

Once again, we’re in London when it comes to the combined turnover of companies, with four London boroughs taking the next places. The winner, Westminster, came out on top with £149b in turnover.

Our data consistently shows that London has the highest turnover, so no big surprises there. But in at number five: Leeds — with a combined turnover of £37.5b. Leeds has often been accredited as a global fintech and insuretech hub, and is home to the UK’s first fintech accelerator outside of London.

Councils by growth in number of employees

We would expect to see these numbers coincide somewhat with the growth in number of active companies, but interestingly, the City of London has come out on top (which didn’t even make the top ten list).

The City of London, which covers the area just outside north of London Bridge, had 202k more employees in 2023 than 2022. It’s often referred to as Square Mile, and it’s known as the hub of the UK’s financial services industry. Coming in second is the political hub of the UK — Westminster.

Councils by proportion of companies with a patent

Patents have become a great indicator of innovative business — and we’ve used this as a means of finding councils with businesses that are shaping the UK’s future.

In spots one and two: South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge. Home to one of the UK’s top educational institutions, it wouldn’t be surprising to find a lot of young businesses with patents or university spinouts. Similarly, Aberdeen in third is home to the University of Aberdeen which was ranked 12th in The Guardian’s university league table, and came 23rd in top academic institutions by total number of spinouts tracked since 2011 according to our report: Spotlight on Spinouts 2024.

Spotlight on Spinouts 2024

In collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, we bring you the fourth annual analysis of the UK’s academic spinouts.

Councils by proportion of companies with an innovation grant

Another way to find innovative companies is to look at where innovation grants are being awarded. Interestingly, our data revealed that the Isles of Scilly were miles ahead of other councils, with 3.33% of all companies having an innovation grant.

In second and third place were Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, reflecting the numbers we saw before in patents. And with Oxford in fifth place, it’s a safe assumption that higher education institutions are making an impact here.

Councils by proportion of companies exporting from the UK

Coming in first place of the proportion of companies exporting from the UK is Redditch — 6% of companies in Redditch export from the UK. But we can see similar numbers across the board, with the lowest in our top ten at 5.2%.

In the 12 months to the end of February 2024, the UK exported £861.6b worth of goods. The biggest exports from the UK are motor vehicles (£14.6b), aircraft parts (£17.3b) and coming in at number one: precious metals production (£22.8b).

How councils can use Beauhurst to make a local impact

Didn’t see your council come up on any of these lists? We can help you change that.

BeauhurstImpact is our specialised product for councils, built specifically to help councils support local businesses effectively.

Our BeauhurstImpact data offers valuable insights into struggling companies. Whether it’s a decline in workforce or stagnant earnings, this data can help you identify businesses in need of support. By pinpointing these companies, you can allocate resources efficiently to aid them.

Monitoring investment data is simplified through the ‘Collections’ feature. It allows tracking of businesses within a specific area or those of interest. This includes keeping tabs on investment figures, which is crucial for assessing company performance and identifying active investors in the region.

You can also automate alerts, streamlining monitoring efforts further. Users receive email notifications for new entities matching saved search criteria, facilitating timely engagement with innovative businesses. Additionally, this feature ensures continuous monitoring of existing businesses within the area, notifying users of any changes automatically.

Analysing business activity over time is made effortless with BeauhurstImpact.

Basildon Council

Basildon Council uses BeauhurstImpact to identify high-growth companies, secure funding, and build relationships

See the platform for yourself

Fancy looking at the new industries classifications in action? Fill in the form below to book a meeting directly with one of our team members.