Edinburgh continues to power Scotland's economy

Edinburgh continues to be the most prosperous UK city outside London according to new report produced by the City of Edinburgh Council.

Ed by numbersThe 12th annual edition of ‘Edinburgh by Numbers’, published today, provides a statistical overview of the Capital and how it compares to other UK cities in terms of People, Work, Economy, Tourism, Education, Environment, Property, Travel and Connectivity. 

Edinburgh continues to attract and employ a skilled workforce with more workers in highly skilled occupations than any other UK city, including London. While the figures also show a city where businesses flourish with five-year business survival rates of new businesses higher than most other UK cities. 

The Capital continues to represent 50% of Scotland’s finance and insurance Gross Value Added (GVA) output and has twice the number of people working in finance and insurance than other UK cities – even exceeding London. 

Edinburgh also remains one of the most visited tourist destinations with more overseas visitors than other UK cities (outside of London) and boasts the highest hotel occupancy (averaging 83.7%). The number of rail and air passengers have both increased by over a million in the last year and the Capital has the highest satisfaction rate with public transport in Scotland. 

Key facts include:

  • Edinburgh continues to be a popular destination for visitors with seven of the top 10 most visited attractions in Scotland for 2017 based in the Capital.
  • Hotel occupancy is highest of all UK cities – averaging 83.7% in 2017
  • The number of international air passengers travelling to and from Edinburgh Airport increased to 8.14 million in 2017, an increase of over a million on 2016. 
  • Around 39% of all workers are in jobs categorised as highly skilled which include: corporate managers and directors; and science, research, engineering and technology professionals.
  • 63.9% of those employed in 2017 were educated to degree level or above
  • Around 10% of people in employment in Edinburgh were in the finance and insurance sector. This is twice as much as the average across other UK cities, including London at 7%. 
  • Edinburgh has the highest satisfaction rates with public transport among other Scottish cities at 89%, compared to the Scottish average of 73.5%. 
  • Edinburgh has seen the second largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per capita between 2010 and 2016 per population out of the UK major cities.

Cllr Adam McVey, Leader of City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Once again, the findings in this report demonstrate that the capital is prosperous, growing, successful and competitive in every way against other UK cities. 

“Not only are our economic and business indicators some of the strongest outside of London – in some cases better – our environmental credentials remain strong too. Average wages remain higher than other UK cities along with opportunities for higher education and, unsurprisingly, our visitor economy is stronger than ever. 

“Of course, with this continuous success comes added pressure on our infrastructure and we are clear on our responsibility to respond to and manage this level of growth in terms of providing housing, transport and other frontline services – while also seeking further powers to raise additional revenues through the likes of a tourist tax. 

“These latest figures demonstrate how much scope there is to continue to increase opportunities in the city for everyone. By sharing our success across our communities we can make sure the benefits of economic growth are felt right across Edinburgh.” 

Depute Leader Cllr Cammy Day added: “This publication reminds us of Edinburgh’s importance to the Scottish economy and comes hot on the heels of last week’s publication of the Good Growth for Cities index which showed Edinburgh had outpaced most UK cities in economic success and wellbeing since 2008. 

“The city boasts a highly educated population proving that not only do we have the right environment for starting and investing in business, we also have the right workforce to support businesses of the future. 

“At the same time, we remain concerned about how we address inequality in this city and ensure that our success is shared with all citizens. Ultimately the strong partnerships between the Council, business, universities, third sector and our statutory partners make this possible.” 

The figures appearing in this edition of Edinburgh by Numbers are the most up-to-date available at the time of publication. 

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