High activity in former industrial areas

Scotland has highest tech company growth outside London

Nigel Eccles and Gareth WilliamsThe number of technology businesses in Scotland has risen by 43% in the last five years, the fastest growth in the UK outside London, according to new data.

This is faster than growth across the whole UK — 31% — and equates to 3,000 new businesses.

However, growth has slowed year-on-year with just 9.1% more enterprises than in 2014, against 9.5% for North East England  and 11.6% for London.

The figures, contained in the latest KPMG/Markit Tech Monitor UK Survey, also reveal that old industrial areas of North Lanarkshire and West Lothian are among the areas that have seen the highest growth in technology businesses.

North Lanarkshire has seen a 20% rise in the past year – the highest growth of all local authorities in Scotland and the fifth highest in the UK. Glasgow is the only other local authority in the top 20 year-on-year risers, with a growth of 12%.

The highest concentrations of tech businesses in Scotland are in Edinburgh followed by West Lothian, East Dunbartonshire, Aberdeen and Midlothian.

Compared to the UK as a whole however, Scotland is home to 20% fewer technology companies relative to the UK average per capita.

Commenting on the survey, Russell Irwin, IT advisory director for KPMG in Scotland said: “It is important for Scotland to have a strong tech sector and very encouraging to see positive signs of growth across the country.

“Improving economic conditions, coupled with successful business expansion strategies and entries into new markets are all helping boost the industry. Scotland’s two £1bn ‘unicorn’ businesses – Fan Duel and Skyscanner – are excellent illustrations of the sector in Scotland.

“However, recent growth shouldn’t be taken for granted. Although there are hundreds of Scottish businesses at the fore-front of technology, they need up-to-date infrastructure and tax policies to create an environment from which to grow.”

Photo: Nigel Eccles of FanDuel and Gareth Williams of Skyscanner

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