From The Argus –
Brighton has become the fastest-growing hub in the country for budding entrepreneurs and enterprises – but the current rail chaos could put an end to that.
Business travel by small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) has increased by 230 per cent in the last four years on rail routes between Brighton and London.
Brighton topped the list of emerging business hubs from across the UK, followed by Swindon and Oxford. Often referred to as Silicon Beach for its ability to attract creative and digital talent, Brighton has emerged a business hub boasting more creative SMEs and start-ups per capita than anywhere else in the UK.
The data from in a report by Trainline for Business -a train booking website – also shows SME rail business travel across the UK has increased by 65 per cent since 2012.
But this may now be at risk due to the current chaos on our rail network with the ongoing bitter dispute between management and workers showing no sign of ending.
Former Brighton and Hove City Council leader Jason Kitcat, micro-business ambassador for Chorus – a free membership organisation launched to provide support, advice and to campaign for the needs of the UK’s micro-businesses – said the train situation is causing real problems every day.
He said: “Rail chaos over an extended period of time is a huge problem for everyone.
“That includes freelancers, contractors and micro-business owners who rely on the rail system to get them to client meetings in good time, and back home again in time for dinner.
“The current rail system just isn’t delivering, it’s definitely time for change.”
The new report shows that SME rail business travel across the UK has increased by 65 per cent since 2012.
Dr Alasdair Rae, senior lecturer in urban studies and planning, said the growth in travel to and from Brighton suggests a growing appetite for more companies to be based outside the capital.
He said: “Trainline’s data on rail business travel provides a compelling and timely insight into the geography of SMEs across the country.
“It’s clear that something significant is happening in terms of the growing number choosing to do business outside London.
“With cheaper rents, quick access to the capital and highly skilled local labour markets, many SMEs appear to be taking advantage of cities across the UK, with Brighton proving particularly popular.
“Yes, the capital remains the brightest star in the UK economy, but there is a constellation of smaller towns and cities upon which our economy also depends.”