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London outshines the rest of the UK for engineering growth

The engineering sector in London is growing nearly five times faster than the rest of the UK, according to research by accountants Nixon Williams.

The firm’s study of Office of National Statistics data revealed that between 2013 and 2014 the number of engineering businesses in London jumped by 16.8 per cent, from 1,700 to 1,985.

This compared to a 3.6 per cent increase in engineering firms across the UK as a whole, from 19,765 to 20,485 firms.

Outside London, the North-east and the North-west were the fastest growing regions for engineering businesses, increasing by 9.2 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively between 2013 and 2014.

Despite recent growth, the overall number of engineering firms is still 15 per cent below its 2009 peak, when there were 24,220 businesses.

Martin Brennan, practice manager of Nixon Williams, said: “The capital is the only UK region to have more engineering businesses in 2014 than in 2009.

“The sector as a whole is recovering nationally, but that growth is very unevenly spread, and with more investment earmarked for London, it is conceivable that the gap could widen still further.”

The firm cited research by the Institute for Public Policy Research, which found that Crossrail is destined to receive nine times more funding than all rail projects in the north of England combined.

Mr Brennan said: “London has benefitted from significant public investment in major infrastructure projects, such as the Olympic Games and Crossrail, which has fuelled engineering start-ups in the capital.

“The majority of the UK’s mega-projects over the last 10 years – and Crossrail dwarfs all others – have been in London and the South East, and that trend looks set to continue.”

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