Economy of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, as the capital of Scotland, is usually regarded as one of the twin engines of the Scottish Economy alongside Glasgow. Edinburgh has been consistently one of the most prosperous parts of the country and has the strongest economy of any city in the UK outside London. The economy of Edinburgh and its region (which includes areas such as the Forth Valley, Fife and the municipal authorities of Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian) has been announced as one of the fastest growing city regions in Europe, with strong rates of growth in banking, financial services and hi tech research and development.
The economy of Edinburgh is largely based around the service sector, with tourism, financial services and banking being particularly important as well as education and high tech research. The city has been in good economic health since the arrival in 1999 of the Scottish Parliament, which had a so-called "headquarters effect", with many government departments being set up in the city, resulting in an increase in recruitment and employment. On 12 March 2004, Edinburgh was granted Fairtrade City status. FDi Magazine has named Edinburgh as the Best Small City of the Future for 2010/2011, while it is also the most competitive large city in the UK according to the Centre for International Competitiveness.
Economic profile 
- In 2009 the population of the city was estimated by the General Register Office for Scotland to be 477,660. Edinburgh's population is growing significantly, mainly through inward migration. This strong growth is, however, leading to pressure on the green belt, particularly in the west of the city as office and housing developments compete for space.
- Edinburgh has a large metropolitan travel to work area which provides a pool of workers from as far afield as the likes of Glasgow, much of Fife, Stirling, Falkirk and towns in the Scottish Borders such as Galashiels and Peebles.
- The city has the second highest gross value added per capita of any city in the UK, after London.
- The unemployment rate as of March 2010 stands at 3.6% and is consistently lower than the Scottish average of 4.5%.
- Employment in Edinburgh has grown at 1.4% annually over the period 1995 - 2004, with job vacancies comfortably outstripping job seekers over that same period.
- In 2007, the gross value added of the city was £15,304 million, or 15.4% of the Scottish total.
- There are pockets of deprivation, social exclusion, poor quality housing and pockets of unemployment particularly in peripheral areas of the city, but also in some inner city areas.
- Edinburgh's workforce is more productive than that of any other city in the UK. The Capital's Gross Value Added per head is £32,697, well ahead of the Scottish average of £19,267 and also far ahead of the UK average of £20,430.
Top employers 
The table below shows the top employers in terms of employee numbers in the City of Edinburgh:
|Employer||Number of employees|
|City of Edinburgh Council||20,200|
|Royal Bank of Scotland||9,200|
|Lloyds Banking Group||8,750|
|University of Edinburgh||8,050|
|The Scottish Government||5,000|
|Lothian Buses UK||2,050|
|Source: Edinburgh by Numbers 2010/2011|
Manufacturing has never had as big a presence in Edinburgh as Glasgow and thus the city's growth was not underpinned by manufacturing industry. Shipbuilding at Leith Docks, rubber works and several engineering factories were nevertheless important in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Edinburgh's main industries were brewing and printing and publishing. At one time there were over 40 breweries in the city and brewing employed the largest single workforce in the middle of the 20th century, but has declined rapidly since the 1980s. The closure of the Fountain Brewery in Fountainbridge in 2005 left Caledonian Brewery as the largest in the city.
Banking and Insurance 
Edinburgh is the second largest financial centre in the United Kingdom after the City of London and the fourth in Europe by equity assets, and is at the centre of a financial services in industry, which in Scotland has achieved a growth rate of over 30% over the period 2000 to 2005.
Edinburgh has been a centre of banking for over 300 years, the Bank of Scotland was founded in 1695, by an act of the original Parliament of Scotland, and is now part of the Lloyds Banking Group, who have kept the Scottish headquarters in Edinburgh. The Royal Bank of Scotland also has its global headquarters in Edinburgh, operating from a new complex at Gogarburn and opened in October 2005. The bank was founded in 1727 by Royal Charter and is now the fifth largest in the world by market capitalisation. In 2000, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) acquired the National Westminster Bank in the biggest banking takeover in British history, to create a huge group with an expanded portfolio and a global outreach. Ulster Bank, Direct Line and Coutts constitute some of the other operations that are part of the RBS group. On 7 October 2007, a consortium led by RBS announced the successful acquisition of ABN AMRO, further growing its significance. Tesco Bank, as well as Virgin Money also have headquarters in Edinburgh.
In insurance terms, indigenous Edinburgh companies such as Standard Life and Scottish Widows form a large part of the European insurance sector as well as being major employers in the city. Scottish Widows was founded in 1815, managing £82.8bn worth of funds at March 2005 with a workforce of around 4000.
The New Town and city centre has traditionally been home to many companies, in the banking, finance and legal professions, but modern needs have caused many to relocate. Immediately to the west of the city centre is the Terry Farrell master-planned Exchange business district, which now houses major employers such as Scottish Widows, Standard Life, the Clydesdale Bank and Baillie Gifford.
Edinburgh Park is one of the largest business parks in the UK and is located on the western periphery of city, near Edinburgh Airport. The park was opened in 1992 alongside the large out-of-town shopping development at South Gyle and is close to major routes such as the A8, the M8 motorway and the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass and now has its own railway station. Close to Edinburgh Park at Gogarburn, the Royal Bank of Scotland have opened their global headquarters. HSBC, Royal Bank, Diageo, J. P. Morgan, Telewest, BT, Fujitsu and Lloyds Banking Group have all established large offices in this park. Following the opening of the Royal Bank's new headquarters, there will be around 20,000 people working in the western outskirts of the city.
Edinburgh has not had as large or as significant a retail sector compared to Glasgow, however large out-of-town shopping developments have taken place in recent years, such as the Gyle development in 1993 and the Fort Kinnaird shopping complex located to the east of the city. The St. James Centre and Princes Mall started in the 1970s, then Cameron Toll in the 1980s. More recent developments are the Gyle centre next to Edinburgh Park, Ocean Terminal in Leith and the retail parks at Hermiston Gait, Straiton and Fort Kinnaird which are all next to the Edinburgh City Bypass. Edinburgh has many modern supermarkets in its suburbs which offer a more day-to-day type of shopping. As a shopping centre, particularly Princes Street, Edinburgh suffered some decline for a number of years, but since 2005 has seen the City centre yield rise in comparison to other similarly sized cities. Recent attempts to encourage shoppers back into the city centre have included, the development of top brand department stores on George Street and St Andrew Square and plans to redevelop Princes Street and the St. James Centre in the future.
Tourism is another important mainstay of the economy of Edinburgh, supporting 30,000 jobs in the city worth £1.6bn to the city economy. Edinburgh is Scotland's most popular tourist destination in terms of visitor numbers, with numbers growing substantially each year, particularly in the budget travel and backpacking sector, assisted by the growth of Edinburgh Airport and direct rail links to the rest of the country. The annual Edinburgh Festival attracts record numbers, as does the Hogmanay street party each New Year, with over 4.4 million visitors attending Edinburgh's various festival events over 2009. The Edinburgh Festivals in August alone generate in excess of £100 million for the Edinburgh economy. Another component of Edinburgh's tourist industry is business and conference tourism, which generates in excess of £74m for the city. Edinburgh is the UK's most popular conference destination, ahead of both London and Glasgow. Visitors are attracted by the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Old Town and the New Town as well as the history and culture of the city most visible in tourist attractions such as Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
|Tourist attraction||Number of visitors|
|National Gallery of Scotland||842,958|
|National Museum of Scotland||614,894|
|St Giles' Cathedral||530,000|
|Edinburgh Bus Tours||517,793|
|Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh||505,325|
|National War Museum of Scotland||474,133|
|Scottish Parliament Visitor Centre||323,722|
|Our Dynamic Earth||298,288|
|Source: Edinburgh by Numbers 2010/2011 |
Public sector 
Edinburgh is the centre of Scotland's government and legal system. As a consequence many government departments and public sector agencies are headquartered in the city as well as the High Court of Justiciary and the centres of Scotland's legal establishment. As a centre of Scots law, the legal profession has had a long presence in Edinburgh, with many premises in the New Town belonging to legal practices and firms. Many ancillary economic undertakings and political pressure groups have thus set up around this new seat of government leading to a boom in the recruitment and employment of public sector officials. However, the Scottish Executive up to 2007 had a policy of relocating some of its departments from the city to other parts of Scotland such as sportscotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Such relocations have lessened under the post-2007 Scottish Government. The City of Edinburgh Council and the National Health Service are also major employers in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is a major centre of education in the United Kingdom, and has been since the establishment of the University of Edinburgh in 1583, with another 3 major higher education institutions in the city developing later. Education and academic research (including medical research) plays a significant role in the economy of the city. The presence of these educational institutions also attracts many overseas students and those from the rest of the UK. Life sciences and microelectronics in particular and have grown in prominence in recent years. The University of Edinburgh is a leader in the fields of medicine and law, and was a pioneer in British artificial intelligence teaching. Heriot-Watt University specialises in science and engineering and Napier University in the fields of computing and business, as well as creative fields.
The city is linked internationally by Edinburgh Airport (EDI) which in 2009 saw more than 9 million passengers throughout the year. This makes Edinburgh Airport the sixth busiest in the UK, and in the year ending February 2010, it was the only airport in the top ten to report annual passenger growth. In terms of rail connections, Edinburgh Waverley railway station is the principal mainline station in the city serving over 19.6 million passenger journeys over 2008-2009. A new tram system connecting Edinburgh City Centre with Edinburgh Airport is under construction and scheduled to be in operation by 2014.
Other issues 
Property prices 
Like much of the rest of Scotland, property prices have been rising for many years. Since the onset of the recession, prices in Edinburgh have declined at lower rate than the rest of the UK. As of February 2010, the average house in Edinburgh was valued at £228,268, which represents a 20 per cent annual increase, compared with the UK average of a 0.1 per cent decrease.
Derelict land and areas on the waterfront of Edinburgh at places like Granton and Leith are in the process of being regenerated to make way for mixed commercial, residential and industrial developments to further provide for the forecast growth of the city.
Urban growth 
In an economic sense Edinburgh is constrained by its relatively small size, and that there are economic benefits to be had with greater collaboration with surrounding areas such as Glasgow. Edinburgh itself is ringed by greenbelt land, which has seen developments such as the offices at Edinburgh Park and housing and commercial developments to the south of Edinburgh spring up on it.
See also 
- Major Development Projects 2006  Edinburgh City Council Capital Review
- The Scotsman, 2006  Edinburgh's business focus proves a world beater for economic growth
- Edinburgh awards and accolades
- General Register Office for Scotland - Mid-2008 population estimates
- General Register Office for Scotland - Population projections Scotland (2006 based)
-  Edinburgh by Numbers 2010/2011
- City of Edinburgh Council Economy Watch April 2010
- Scottish Enterprise  Capital catching up with International competitors
- Edinburgh by Numbers 2010/2011 City of Edinburgh Council
- Edinburgh Brand Website Edinburgh's Financial Services Sector
- Scottish Financial Services Enterprise, 2006  Financial Services Overview
- The ScotsmanJobs Boost as Tesco to base finance arm in Capital
- The Scotsman Virgin Money provides jobs boost for the city
- Scottish Widows Partnership About Scottish Widows - Company Information
- Edinburgh Park Edinburgh Park Overview
- Valuation Office Agency VOA Property Market reports
- Capital Review, Capital Review: Issue 20: String of Pearls
- "Lothian Buses. Retrieved on 11 May 2010.
- Edinburgh Convention Bureau  Edinburgh Convention Bureau - Fast Facts
- The Scotsman From nuclear physics to boob jobs - Edinburgh conferences worth £74m
- Edinburgh by Numbers 2010/2011 - City of Edinburgh Council
- Civil Aviation Authority
- Edinburgh by Numbers 2010/2011
- Edinburgh Economy Watch - April 2010
- Scottish Enterprise, 2006  Capital Catching up with International Competitors
- Glasgow Economic Facts 2005 Glasgow Economic Analysis and Benchmark Report
- Edinburgh Economy Watch (for the latest economic trends)
- City of Edinburgh Economic Data
- Edinburgh by Numbers Facts and Figures Booklet 2010/11
- Latest Labour Market Information (Updated Monthly)