The latest instalment of ourweekly series, in which we use the Centre for Cities’ data tools to crunch some of the numbers on Britain’s cities.
Here’s a stat for you: 8 per cent of all British businesses are based in an area just half the size of the Isle of Wight.
That 8 per cent may not sound like much – but it’s in an area that’s just 0.09 per cent of Great Britain. Look:
Half the Isle of Wight (red) compared with 8 per cent of Great Britain (dark green). See? Image: Centre for Cities.
In other words, it’s punching approximately 90 times above its weight.
So what is this magical, wealth-spouting place? It’s not literally half the Isle of Wight (though that would be fun; did you know it was briefly its own kingdom?). Rather, it’s the combined area of Britain’s city centres, which play a disproportionately large role in the British economy.
In fact, that 8 per cent probably understates their importance. The bit of the economy in which Britain has a competitive advantage – the bit which is most likely to provide the jobs of the future – is services. Of the firms which export such services, 11 per cent of them are based in city centres.