When it comes to creative SMEs, freelancers, or umbrella companies, Aberdeen is the newest hotspot in the UK according to a new research study.
This year’s Small Business Outlook report, put out by the Centre for Cities think tank, found that Aberdeen was the top choice for professional, digital, and creative sector workers when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. This includes freelancers, contractors, and sole traders of course. Rounding out the top three cities were Reading and Cambridge, while the tried-and-true favourite of London was in the top ten cities.
I have to say I’m a bit surprised to see Aberdeen as the top choice, as it’s not exactly rolling in the dough thanks to how the oil and gas sector in the North Sea has certainly bottomed out recently. Apparently, creative industries are filling the gap left by the oil and gas market and then some, which makes me feel much less nervous about the economy as a whole.
On top of that, this certainly shows that non-traditional centres for work like Aberdeen can most certainly make a case for further devolution, don’t you think? Whatever opinion you may have on the issue of Scotland’s recent (and failed) vote for independence, more devolution is more or less universally a good idea. If Aberdeen is going to continue to be a local bastion of excellence when it comes to creative industries, local governments need the ability to support the city’s infrastructure and to have better control over its spending – and that means less decision making has to come from Westminster. The world doesn’t revolve around London and the Midlands, whatever Parliament may think, and this most recent study from Centre for Cities is proof positive of this idea – despite what MPs might think.
Business rate devolution in Scotland, which is coming in 2020, is definitely a step in the right direction and it’s one I’d like to see pursued further. That’s five years away after all, and we need to come up with solutions to support cities like Aberdeen today rather than half a decade down the line. I know this is not something that’s bound to happen, considering how slow policymakers move on more or less every blessed thing they have their hands in, but at least I’ll go on record by saying that we should support business efforts in “far flung” regions like the Scotland and the North. This is especially important with oil and gas dropping off such as it has; we can’t put all our eggs in one basket, and supporting creative industries in Aberdeen is part and parcel of doing just that, don’t you think?