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Ipswich: Town ranked in top 20 in UK for business launches

PUBLISHED: 07:30 07 March 2014

Futura Park in Ransomes Way is one of Ipswich's biggest success stories of recent years

Futura Park in Ransomes Way is one of Ipswich's biggest success stories of recent years

Industry leaders have seized on a new report claiming Ipswich is among the top 20 places in the UK to launch a profitable business to laud the town’s post-recession “sustainable success”.

A low insolvency rate and a high “financial strength” score were behind Ipswich being ranked as the 15th-best town or city nationwide for providing the “best environment for business success”, according to credit information company Experian.

Despite a poor business start-up rating, a strong turnover growth helped the town score 14 out of 20 in the survey – more than Oxford and Kingston-upon-Thames.

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said the report highlighted why the town is a “great place to do business”, while Carole Jones, economic development portfolio-holder at Ipswich Borough Council, claimed the town was playing an increasingly important role in developing the UK’s business. The report found that almost half (43%) of businesses in the town reported at least a 10% yearly sales growth in 2013, while Ipswich scored top marks for insolvency with only 0.67% of firms – 106 out of 15,922 – entering administration last year.

For financial strength, Ipswich scored 52.6 out of 100 (rankings ranged from 39.8 to 57.2).

However the research found that out of all the firms in the town, only 9.3% (1,483) were new businesses that had started within the last two years. Ms Jones welcomed the report, insisting the authority was making the town centre “attractive” with “cheap parking schemes” and proposals to “reinvigorate” the Cornhill.

“We are working hard with many partners to boost business, jobs and skills and economic growth – a key strategy of this council,” she added.

“Ipswich is well-placed geographically, demographically and economically to play an increasingly regional role in developing the UK’s business.”

Mr Clement said a “lot of hard work” has gone into ensuring the “sustainable success of Ipswich post-recession”.

He added: “Much still needs to be done, but it is working. Ipswich is a great place to work, set against a backdrop of the Suffolk countryside, office rents and house prices are reasonable, and we are one hour from London by train and 50 minutes to Stansted (Airport) and a gateway to Europe and beyond.”

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The first scheduled service between Stansted Airport and the United States for nine years is to be launched next April.

British Gas is to pay £1.1m to compensate thousands of customers after its agents missed appointments.

Sports Direct has seen its profits more than halve after it was left “exposed” by the fall in sterling following the EU referendum.

Making a more concerted effort to connect with the public will be crucial to solving the image crisis of business in the UK, a lobbying group director has claimed.

Energy group Drax has reported a strong start to 2017, including further progress for its Ipswich-based electricity retail business Haven Power.

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