COUNCIL leaders have heralded a national report that labelled Bournemouth as one of the best places for business in the UK.

A report by the Sunday Times listed the coastal borough as one of the top 20 "cities" for growth, alongside London, Manchester and Glasgow.

The article published online on February 9, in association with KPMG, who are currently acting as administrators for Bournemouth-based department chain Beales, said Bournemouth has "established a reputation as a home for creative businesses", crediting Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth for supporting this emergence.

The Sunday Times also said the town has a "strong night-time" economy, which allows leisure and tourism companies to "flourish". It went on to reference successful start-ups in tech and digital sectors, as well as larger firms, JP Morgan, McCarthy & Stone and LV=.

National recognition for Bournemouth has been welcomed by top councillors.

Councillor Vikki Slade, BCP Council leader, said: “With a wealth of national HQs and business centres across the financial sector, a highly skilled advanced manufacturing industry, burgeoning tourism and cultural economy, world-renowned education providers, and growing creative and digital specialisms, the towns of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are great places for businesses to grow.

She added: “We have bold and ambitious plans for our economy, aiming to create further opportunities for those who wish to develop their careers and businesses while enjoying an exceptional quality of life. We’re bidding for £135m of government money to improve infrastructure, investing £16m in new homes in 2020/21 alone, and developing our Smart Cities and 5G offer right now.”

Councillor Mark Howell, BCP Council cabinet member for regeneration and culture, said: “Our area is already thriving, but has immense untapped potential. It has always been a great place to live, but initiatives to regenerate Poole, expand the three towns’ cultural offer, and build more housing in our town centres are energising investors, businesses and residents.

"BCP Council is taking the lead, but working collaboratively with our partners and businesses. We know that the quality of life here is second to none, and our natural environment is central to that. We are most definitely open for business so if you want to make your mark in a beautiful place, committed to sustainable living, pay us a visit."

The positive message was also put forward at the South West Conservative Conference, where Chancellor Sajid Javid gave a speech.

He said there is "so much talent oozing" in the region and that there would be investment to allow it to flourish.

Mr Javid said: "“We have so much talent across the country, so much talent oozing across the United Kingdom, including, of course, in the south west.

“What we don’t have is enough opportunity. We need to spread much more opportunity right across the country – and that’s going to be the central focus of this government.

“We’re going to invest in infrastructure with an infrastructure revolution. We’re going to invest more in skills. We’re going to listen to you about what you want locally. And I can’t wait to get going."