Latest news

UK tech sees some signs of recovery as sector spikes on south coast

  • A two-year drop in active UK tech businesses is now showing signs of stabilisation although its gradual recovery is clouded by the Silicon Valley Bank collapse
  • Brighton saw a spike in local tech businesses with the net number of active tech firms growing by 13.5% during the last 12 months – the best performance of all UK cities
  • The Brighton increase is likely to be a reflection of the migration of tech talent from London where the number of active businesses fell 9.1% in the past year

New research from the economic index, Evaluate|Locate, shows that the decline in active UK tech businesses which was triggered by the pandemic is now slowing, while Brighton has seen a stand-out spike of new businesses.

During the 12 months to March 2023, the decrease in the number of active tech companies across the UK slowed to -9.3% which represented an annual drop of just under 15,000 businesses.

Whilst the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has brought further uncertainty to the sector, Brighton saw the number of its active local technology companies grow by 13.5%. The south coast city’s tech sector now encompasses more than 1,000 businesses and the latest increase is likely to be due, in part, to tech talent relocating to Brighton from London. It is now the UK’s eighth largest technology city having leapfrogged both Glasgow and Cambridge in terms of active tech businesses.

Aside from Brighton, it was Manchester which had the most positive last 12 months. While it saw an overall -6.8% decline in active businesses this was almost half the rate of decline its tech sector was seeing towards the end of last year.

At the other end of the scale, Edinburgh has seen its local tech population drop by nearly one fifth (-19.9%) in the space of 12 months. In absolute terms, this amounted to net closures of 316 tech firms across the Scottish capital.

Greater London saw net closures amounting to 4,282 tech businesses during the past 12 months. This represented 9.1% of its tech business base but with 42,573 active businesses it is still by far the UK’s biggest tech hub. Birmingham (-8.9%) and Leeds (-8.8%) have seen similar levels of net tech closures but retain second and third place in the tech league table.

Adam Kirby, Head of Data & Insights at Evaluate|Locate, comments: “Tech firms have been under significant pressure in a year that has tested the sector’s progress and particularly impacted more vulnerable start-ups.

“The full implications of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse are yet to be seen, but our latest data indicates that the sector is seeing some stabilisation and making its way back very gradually to a growth curve.”