Small businesses in the City of London have lower annual energy bills than anywhere else in the UK, while Liverpool SMEs pay the most.
This is according to a study by energy comparison experts Love Energy Savings, which looked at the most and least expensive places to set up a business.
Its research found that firms in the City of London spend an average of £2,574 per year – the lowest in Britain – on gas and electricity. Bills for small businesses in Liverpool come in at £3,209 per year. The only other city whose SMEs shell out more than £3,000 on their annual energy bills is Aberdeen.
But energy savings made by City of London SMEs are offset by their wage bills, which average £870 per week – double that of other cities examined in the study.
Mixed picture in Birmingham
Love Energy Savings used its own regional energy price data and government statistics to come up with its assessment of the best cities in each region to launch a start-up. This included numbers of new businesses being launched and dissolved in each city, and how many start-ups are still going after four years.
In 2014, 5,295 firms were set up in Birmingham – more than anywhere else. But the city also saw 3,925 businesses folding, which was also more than any other city.
The place with the best SME survival rate is Aberdeen, where more than half (53.1 per cent) of new firms still in operation after four years. Second place was Norwich, at 49.4 per cent, while Bristol came in third, where the four-year survival rate is 48.4 per cent.
Phil Foster, MD at Love Energy Savings, said: “Our latest research shows that companies’ financial overheads differ greatly depending on where they are based geographically, as does the overall survival rate.”
“The fact that a small business in Liverpool pays over £600 more for its energy each year than a similar company in the City of London demonstrates just how unpredictable the energy industry can be.
“To get any business off the ground, you have to maintain a tight grip on your finances, and it always pays to shop around for cheaper deals and discounts – whether that’s on your commercial gas and electricity bills or any other unavoidable business expense.”