How Bristol City Businesses are on the Up
After months of lull in business activity, Bristol is getting back on track. Renowned for its iconic landmarks, enigmatic Banksy artworks and vibrant hip culture, the city is one of the UK’s leading tech hubs and an emerging haven for startups. How is Bristol making headway after the devastating impact of the pandemic on its economy? Let’s take a look at three key areas that help the city stay afloat.
Investment in Highstreet Retail and Hospitality
In 2019, Bristol had 36,000 jobs in retail and wholesale, 18,000 in accommodation and food, and 6,000 in arts, entertainment and leisure. However, the sudden economic crash brought by COVID-19 doubled the city’s unemployment rate to 4.6 percent in the first and second quarters of 2020 and drove over 70,000 people to go on furlough.
To address the crisis, the Bristol City Council is allotting £4.72 million to help the city centre and 47 high streets recuperate from the damaging effects of the pandemic. Nine high streets, including Stockwood, Filton Avenue, Church Road, Shirehampton and Two Mile Hill, will be the first beneficiaries of the support. The recovery plan aims to revive 150 vacant properties in these sites by improving their “look and feel” and “increasing the diversity of their use” to boost footfall. The package includes a £1 million budget to assist new businesses, including hospitality and creative areas. Entrepreneurs can apply for financial assistance later this year once the city council finalises the funding.
The year 2020 saw the rise of alternative work structures. Even after the government removed its work-from-home mandate, several companies continue to offer flexible working arrangements, including staggering shifts and remote work. Organisations turn to the Human Resources department to help employees move from traditional work schedules to a flexible work scheme and agile working systems. Many companies are boosting their HR departments to keep up with the shifting business landscape.
In the meantime, 2021 saw a surge in Bristol HR job vacancies as lockdown restrictions on various business establishments, including pubs, restaurants and retail shops, were lifted. However, candidate availability plummeted due to increased hiring, the furlough scheme and pandemic-related uncertainty. With this comes the demand for a more robust HR staff to handle and oversee recruitment drives.
Movement Away from London
Bristol and its surrounding areas saw an influx of 33,092 people from other parts of the UK in 2020 as younger people leave bigger cities such as London in search of better job prospects and lower cost of living. The majority of the moves to Bristol are work-related. At the same time, however, Bristol’s population dropped by 190 due to people moving away elsewhere.
Despite the slight decrease in population, inner and outer Bristol continues to enjoy increased footfall. With this, real estate agents forecast an 18 percent rise in house prices within the next five years. In addition, many of the potential buyers are considering country living, scouring the city outskirts and suburban areas for property listings. However, demand for housing in the city remains strong and may grow as authorities lift lockdown restrictions.