Tuesday 17 August 2010

Huntingdonshire - Irrelevant for business?

Huntingdonshire business
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Some might be forgiven for believing that Cambridge and Peterborough are the only regions in our county, especially with the branding of Greater Cambridge which now reaches from Royston to Wisbech.

So is Huntingdonshire irrelevant in the greater scheme of things?

We begin humbly when establishing that Cambrideshire & Peterborough together account for just 1.6% of all the businesses in England (about 30,000 out of 1,844,030). Cambridgeshire is surrounded by counties that each contain more businesses than it does, bar Bedfordshire.

However, Cambridgshire and Peterborough together do have a total GVA (gross value added)  of about £17 billion (2008), which is above average for population of 760,000.The major contributor is Peterborough (25% of GVA, followed by Cambridge City (23%) followed by - Huntingdonshire at (19%)!

In terms of business numbers, Huntingdonshire (6985 businesses) and South Cambridgeshire(7025) dominate, followed by Peterborough (5070) and Cambridge city (4115).

The top four business categories as defined by the Office of National Statistics for Cambridgeshire in general and Huntingdonshire in particular are

  1. Professional, Technical and Research
  2. Construction (in 2008)
  3. Information and Communication 
  4. Business Administration and Support Services

In fact, nearly a quarter (24%) of Huntingdonshire's businesses are knowledge based, with Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire each having 30% of their business in the knowledge based sector. These figures are well above the 21% for the UK as a whole.

So we can see that far from being an insignificant part of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Huntingdonshire is a key location throwing its weight behind the success of  region.

Indeed, in terms of numbers of businesses, Huntingdonshire leads the county in Production (515 businesses), Wholesale (415), Retail (470) Transport (260) and Arts, Entertainment, Recreation & other services (480).

Even delving a bit further into the detail brings up some interesting surprises. Richard Wishart of Delivery Management alerted me to the fact that defense and defense related industries form a hidden force within the area of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough; the core regions are Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire who have 60 of the 85  businesses in their areas.

My answer to the question, "is Huntingdonshire irrelevant in the greater scheme of things?" is therefore a resounding no!

What sectors do you think are Huntingdonshire strengths or weaknesses?

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