Basildon: an economic powerhouse of the South-East
- AuthorLaura Meers
Birkett Long opened its Basildon office in 2011. With offices already in Colchester and Chelmsford, it may not be immediately obvious why Basildon was chosen as a location for the firm’s third office.
Basildon isn’t typically thought of as an area of particularly high wealth, however, in 2017 Basildon had higher levels of productivity than places like Oxford and Cambridge. A recent report carried out by Centre for Cities, ‘Cities Outlook 2019’, explored how local government cuts since 2010 have impacted UK cities.
The report found that the average Gross Value Added* per worker across all cities in Great Britain was just £57,000. With London the second highest at £80,000 per worker, the first was…Slough.
Across the Greater South East (which the report defines as London, the South East, and the East of England), Basildon came eleventh. With a GVA per worker of £60,000, Basildon came ahead of places such as Oxford, Cambridge, Portsmouth and Norwich. In comparison, the GVA for Basildon in 2015 was £50,000 which, whilst still a good result at the time, shows how much it has developed in a short space of time.
One of the other key factors in choosing Basildon as the location for the third office was its proximity to Thames Corridor and London. It is a decision that has served Birkett Long well. From starting the office with 2 full time employees almost 8 years ago, we now have an office of 20 people and we continue to grow steadily.
So why are other companies also choosing Basildon?
Many businesses do not necessarily want to be based in London but do want access to the high skilled workers, which statistically are more likely to be located in the South East. In addition to this, the cost of office space is significantly cheaper being located outside of London.
One of the benefits which is considered to come with the more expensive space in London and other cities is the agglomeration effect. This effect sees greater volumes of interaction between workers outside of their place of work, increasing the sharing of information and expertise.
In banking and professional services, it is those knowledge exchanges from which a lot of value comes. However, many companies that are looking for highly skilled workers may not necessarily want to share information with the wider market. This is perhaps a contributing factor as to why areas such as Basildon are doing so well.
It is clear from this report that Basildon is performing very well in terms of its economic activity. With a number of high profile investments planned for Basildon and other local towns over the coming years, we are expecting a very bright future for the area.
*GVA - a measure of how much economic activity every worker in the area was responsible for