London skyline

London and Manchester have been named as the best hubs for high-growth small businesses in the UK.

The ranking of 32 British cities, published by Octopus Investments, put London top closely followed by Manchester. Cardiff and Edinburgh ranked fell at third and fourth on the list, respectively.

The cities were ranked on access to finance, talent and connectivity.

Whereas the Welsh and Scottish capitals were ranked highly, Belfast struggled at 21 on the list, with comparatively poor demography and skills.

Octopus Investments suggested that the focus on the Northern Powerhouse has not resulted in an even benefit across the region, with an east-west divide emerging. Whereas Liverpool and Manchester ranked highly thanks to their stronger transport links, affordable location costs and job creation forecasts, the likes of Newcastle, Hull, York and Middlesbrough all fell in the bottom 10.

Simon Rogerson, CEO of Octopus Investments, said: “It is exciting to see that there are towns and cities right across the UK that have the potential to support the next generation of HGSBs and benefit from the HGSB effect. These businesses are vital to our economic prosperity and there is untapped opportunity in every corner of the UK.”