Exeter is the only city in the UK where the number of business closures fell last year, a new report has revealed.
The Centre for Cities Outlook report for 2019 shows Exeter bucking the trend when it comes to the health of its businesses.
Cities Outlook 2019 is an annual health check of the 63 largest cities in the UK.
Whilst other cities across the country have seen a significant increase in High Street shops and businesses closing down, Exeter is showing the complete opposite, with a 2 per cent fall in closures.
Exeter’s success is in sharp contrast to other locations in the UK. London saw a mighty 94.9% increase in business closures, whilst Northampton (72.7%) and Aberdeen (71.7%) were also badly affected.
Cllr Rachel Sutton, Lead Councillor for Economy and Culture, was encouraged by the report.
“This is really positive news for Exeter. Unlike other cities who are struggling, Exeter remains a strong centre for business and a vibrant retail destination. Footfall in the city centre continues to be high and clearly businesses in Exeter are doing alright during tough times.”
Elsewhere in the report, Exeter’s air quality has significantly improved. Where other cities have seen CO2 emissions going up, Exeter has seen a 10 per cent reduction.
Employment is another positive for the city, with Exeter having the third lowest number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The highly regarded report also highlights how austerity has hit cities hard over recent years with year-on-year cuts in government funding. Exeter has been hit hard – the second hardest hit city in the South West - with a 17% reduction in funding since 2009/10. This equates to a £383 reduction per person in Exeter in the last ten years.
The report outlines how local authorities have responded by becoming leaner and more efficient.
Cllr Sutton added: “In Exeter we’ve been no different to other cities – we’ve had to adapt to massive cuts in government funding. We are far from out of the woods and having to make some difficult decisions now and for a number of years to come.”
The report can be found at https://www.centreforcities.org/publication/cities-outlook-2019/