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Old September 5th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #1
bustcapl
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Business in Liverpool

Just finished reading my latest copy of the Vision magazine and whilst i do take much of it with a pinch of salt ( it being a glossy version of the Daily post) one point kept re-curring throughout....
Whilst Liverpool has been enjoying an unprecedented boom in recent years there has been one glaring failing.
That is the failure of the city and its many quangos and drum beaters to attract world class / big letting jobs back to the city.
Whilst talk of good office yields persists it is blatantly obvious that this has only been brought about by the paucity of the stock that went before. The liverpool office merry-go-round will not go on for ever. Lettings have been made up by Liverpool companies moving to bigger and better premises rather than any significant inward investment.
Hotels talk about Liverpool being quiet during the week because of a lack of big business in the city... so why have our leaders failed in attracting these quality jobs back to the city?

There are a lot of intelligent posters on here (and a few clowns lest it be said) but i want to know who you think should be held accountable for this / how the city can change this and avoid becoming just a weekend tourist destination.
I would like to be proved wrong or told of the immininet deal to bring 3,000 new banking jobs to the city based in the new Unity block - but i can't see these happening!
I love the city but it strikes me as being a bit ironic that the head of Liverpool Vision points this out as being the cities one big failing... surely he as much as anyone is responsible for bringing this type of investment in!
I welcome all your thoughts!
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Old September 5th, 2007, 01:02 PM   #2
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Maybe we need to see the effects of the large new amounts of office space being built, whilst giving it a bit of time for big business to look at Liverpool again. 2008 is Liverpools year to show itself off to the rest, and will have the extra new infrastructure in place to welcome and accomodate new investment, so i would hope to see a big uptake in 2008 and onwards, to really show all the work that has been put in upto now has paid off.

The new amalgamated, improved "Liverpool PLC" organisation should simplify and strenghten the inward investment process, and hopefully they will put in the extra effort to sell Liverpool.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #3
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Maybe we need to see the effects of the large new amounts of office space being built, whilst giving it a bit of time for big business to look at Liverpool again. 2008 is Liverpools year to show itself off to the rest, and will have the extra new infrastructure in place to welcome and accomodate new investment, so i would hope to see a big uptake in 2008 and onwards, to really show all the work that has been put in upto now has paid off.

The new amalgamated, improved "Liverpool PLC" organisation should simplify and strenghten the inward investment process, and hopefully they will put in the extra effort to sell Liverpool.

Crickey Juxt do you work for them :-) Would like to think what you say is correct but i feel i have been saying it for some time... Bank of New York spings to mind... looked at Liverpool then took 1,500 staff to Manchester all well paid jobs.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 01:40 PM   #4
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I do sound like some "Liverpool Vision" corporate bod there , but i am not. BoNY was bad timing, if they came now, we would get the jobs, as there are signs all over the place now that things are happening, rather than waiting for things to happen.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 01:49 PM   #5
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As Juxta pointed out, the availability of high quality office space is very significant and for the first time in a long time, Liverpool is developing lots of it right now and that can only be a good thing. In the past, Liverpool lagged behind in this type of development (certainly behind Manchester and Birmingham), and if companies are going to consider moving somewhere they need premises. Of course, a big company may wish to build its own premises, but first thing's first.

Transport links are also very important, although I feel Liverpool's are adequate really. They could be better, but there are currently plenty of opportunities per day to travel to London and other important centres by rail and road.

Based on these factors, along with the huge improvements currently taking place in the city's overall environment and facilities, and its existing assets (low crime, beautiful arhcitecture, friendly people) I would say medium and large companies could start to choose Liverpool from now onwards, particularly if we're talking about office-based industries. Liverpool should also benefit from competitive rents, and if the Council are clever, a calm political situation and competitive rates.

The main obstacles from Liverpool's point of view is that its competitor cities, and most importantly (seeing as it is so near) Manchester, has a lot of state infrastructure vested in it that scews private sector investment in its direction and away from Liverpool. The Northwest Regional Development Agency, and various other regional structures, along with the Government Office for the North West, not only fill office space and create many jobs in themselves, but also attract in private sector companies. These regional structures, especially the RDAs invest a vast amount of public money in the regions, and spend a fortune commissioning various planning, project management, legal and property companies. There are obvious logistical and other reasons for these types of copmpany to locate in close proximity to their main clients. So Manchester's (in my opinion, unfair) proportion of governmental structures, scews the market and draws a lot of large, office based companies in its direction.

It is very difficult for Liverpool to draw away these consultancies until it receives a fair proportion of the important government structures. However, I am confident that with the other points I mentioned, Liverpool could still draw in companies such as banks, financial services, global type companies (e.g. oil companies and others that don't really have any vested interest in the North West region.)

There is also the matter of perception, and Liverpool loses out again here largely because of its weak footing in the media industry. This relates again to Manchester's regional governmental structures, and the obvious draw this would have for media companies (being near to where decisions are made), but also the regional media structure itself, which we are all well aware of. Hopefully perceptions of Liverpool can continue to improve with the regular publishing of low crime rates (which seem be getting noticed), friendly people and a sense of community (increasingly well publicised), and ECoC.

On the whole, even with the unfair start Liverpool gets from the regional settlement, there is still quite a bit of potential that could be realised, and I think will be. To some extent.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 01:51 PM   #6
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Liverpool simply isnt ready to attract the big companies yet. We need to offer something that other cities cannot.

Infrastructure - we need transatlantic routes and a better internal city transport network.

Skills - we have not got a sufficient number of individuals per capita that have the graduate or above qualifications to take up. We produce lots of them, but then many leave.

Space - We still need a lot more Grade A office space. We need to up the ante in terms of space, and than have the patience to leave it empty to a while whilst all the other things come together.

Facilities - ACC Liverpool will help in this regard. As will the increased number of shops in Liverpool1 and the increase in hotels.

Customers - Liverpool1 and all the other developments going on in terms of housing will make Liverpool a more desirable place to live. Once we get the population up and with more visitors spending more money, then Liverpool will become a more attractive place to invest to larger companies.


Currently, whatever we can offer can be offered elsewhere too...with more included.

The only thing we can offer that the other cities don't is cheaper rent. We are catching up on many fronts, but only AFTER all the currently known developments have been finished would the Liverpool product seem more attractive than our competitors.

In some respects, it may not happen for decades or at all, unless there is another ecomonic shift/downturn, which makes Manchester, Leeds etc less competative and gives Liverpool the edge once again.

This is why we cannot solely rely on attracting companies in. We need to get home grown companies setting up and support them to expand to become bigguns in their own right.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 01:55 PM   #7
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thanks for the considered responses.... would be nice to hear a good news story soon in this regard!
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Old September 5th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #8
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Bugged, I disagree with several of your points, but don't have time to expand. However, I think graduate and general skills retention will occur if jobs become available. It is economic opportunity that usuall determines where people move to and live. There is a bit of chicken and egg; I think if a big company moves to Liverpool, graduates and others will stay in the city and others will commute in (e.g. from Manc, Lanc, Merseyside, Cheshire.) I don't think it is the other way round- otherwise places like Glasgow and Manchester would never have kicked off their economic regenerations in the first place.

On internal transport links I disagree. Liverpool's are very good. It is external links that are weak, but even then, they are adequate. In theory business people only really need one or two trains per day to London.

To say that Liverpool has less to offer than elsewhere is a nonsense. That statement ignores the vast regeneration currently taking place (Kings Dock is going to be very important for business by the way), and the fact that Liverpool is one of the safest, friendliest and most attractive city centre's in Britain. Certainly more beautiful than the likes of Manc, Birmingham and Leeds.

Anyway, as per my other post, I remain optimistic, although cautious. The regional thing will always be a thorn in the side.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 02:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Skills - we have not got a sufficient number of individuals per capita that have the graduate or above qualifications to take up. We produce lots of them, but then many leave.
That is true, but they leave and go to where the work is, if we start getting that work, they will come back or equally others from outside will move here to fill the gaps. This seem to me to be one of the non-valid reasons why companies don't come here, if there are plenty of graduates coming out of the system here, then why are companies so blind that they don't see this.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #10
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Liverpool simply isnt ready to attract the big companies yet. We need to offer something that other cities cannot.

Infrastructure - we need transatlantic routes and a better internal city transport network.

Skills - we have not got a sufficient number of individuals per capita that have the graduate or above qualifications to take up. We produce lots of them, but then many leave.

Space - We still need a lot more Grade A office space. We need to up the ante in terms of space, and than have the patience to leave it empty to a while whilst all the other things come together.

Facilities - ACC Liverpool will help in this regard. As will the increased number of shops in Liverpool1 and the increase in hotels.

Customers - Liverpool1 and all the other developments going on in terms of housing will make Liverpool a more desirable place to live. Once we get the population up and with more visitors spending more money, then Liverpool will become a more attractive place to invest to larger companies.


Currently, whatever we can offer can be offered elsewhere too...with more included.

The only thing we can offer that the other cities don't is cheaper rent. We are catching up on many fronts, but only AFTER all the currently known developments have been finished would the Liverpool product seem more attractive than our competitors.

In some respects, it may not happen for decades or at all, unless there is another ecomonic shift/downturn, which makes Manchester, Leeds etc less competative and gives Liverpool the edge once again.

This is why we cannot solely rely on attracting companies in. We need to get home grown companies setting up and support them to expand to become bigguns in their own right.
Bugged ... this sees like a glass half empty response.... Liverpool in my opinion has more to offer than somehwere like Leeds already... it would not take much for a company to tie in with the local universities like Liverpool Uni and LJMU etc... such practices are already carried out in the likes of Mnachester and Leeds.

I also agree that we need to nurture the companies that are already here but that alone will not support the city and its region.

I am not quite sure at what sort of baring shops has on a deciosn to locate, i would have thought it would be quality of labour pool, transport links and cost that would be high up the list. On all three fronts i think Liverpool does quite well.... but in terms of actually signing these companies up it is underperforming!
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Old September 5th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #11
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The skills base simply isn't there in great numbers unfortunately. Not enough graduates being retained, not enough kids coming out with a high standard of mathematics and english language.

Customer services in this city are particularly bad as well. You have a high proportion of the population unable to speak properly and unable to relate to customers or clients.

Poor manners, inpoliteness, poor listening skills and awful inclarity in the voice is a bad problem here.


In saying this I am not criticising our scouse accent and slang, which when spoken with clarity and intelligence is wonderfully expressive....I am talking about kids coming out of school barely able to express themselves without saying "innit lad" at the end of every sentance and having terrible inclarity in their voice and mispronunciation as well as poor spelling in written work.


I'd love to see the major banks and stock brokers come to Liverpool as without shadow of a doubt there are people such as myself who I consder to be intelligent who are languishing in temp agency jobs, or worse, call centres, simply because there is not enough employers in the area offering anything else.

People like myself do not feel challeneged and feel underutilised in these crap jobs that seem to fuel the Liverpool ecconomy and feel we have so much more to offer.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 04:05 PM   #12
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Don't get me wrong, I think that things really are on the up in teh area..but were not going to see the benefits immedietely.

Yes we do create lots of graduates, but that simply isnt enough when companies know that if they stay put, the graduates will come to them.

Liverpool is beginning to make itself into a more viable proposition for bigger comp\anies, but it does have some way to go.

Manchester and Leeds began their transformations into finanical centres during a time when investors were running scared of Liverpool in the 1980/90's. That started the ball rolling for them. Birds of a corporate feather then tend to flock together as it is easier to do business where otehr businesses are located. However, it wasnt all then, some factors were earlier:

Economic decline due to the death of large swathes of local industry (which did also impact upon other cities, but not on the same scale and in Liverpool's case there were other factors too which compounded the decline in industry).

Further economic decline caused by 60's/70's social engineering by exporting hundreds of thousands of locals into towns around the NW. There went a massive number of custoemrs for local businesses.

A workforce PERCEIVED as being difficult, which large scale industrial action throughout the 20th century, but particularly the mid/latter stages.

During the 80's/90's so wholly enamoured by free market principles that they did not feel obliged to provide for alternative industires. i.e. "well, just go to where the jobs are" as opposed to attempted to set up alternative industries.

A loopy bunch in charge locally who compounded all of the above to give the impression of a bunch of nutters that you would do better to avoid than work in partnership with.


All of the above gave companies all the reasons they needed to go elsewhere. Other local authorities were also more "savvy" in playing the game of gentral government (or pandering to it...depending on your perspective).


Liverpool has many many unique aspects that I think could give it the edge on other cities. It's USP is there to be utilised, but only now are we taking the first tentative steps to being able to do it.

ACC
Liverpool1
St Pauls Sq.
Pall Mall
Edge Lane
Liverpool Digital
Science Park
Mann Island
X-Building
Liverpool Waters
JLA

The list goes on and on...but they arent in place yet. Once in place, people will really want to come and spend here. Firstly as visitors, then as residents. Once the population goes up and GETS RICHER, companies will exploit that to get their money. They will then begin to more in.

The decline of Liverpool took decades, the recovery won't happen overnight. In fact it's only really been going in earnest 11 years or so.

Come back in 2020 and then you'll see lots of big comanies here.

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Old September 5th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
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The skills base simply isn't there in great numbers unfortunately. Not enough graduates being retained, not enough kids coming out with a high standard of mathematics and english language.

Customer services in this city are particularly bad as well. You have a high proportion of the population unable to speak properly and unable to relate to customers or clients.

Poor manners, inpoliteness, poor listening skills and awful inclarity in the voice is a bad problem here.


In saying this I am not criticising our scouse accent and slang, which when spoken with clarity and intelligence is wonderfully expressive....I am talking about kids coming out of school barely able to express themselves without saying "innit lad" at the end of every sentance and having terrible inclarity in their voice and mispronunciation as well as poor spelling in written work.


I'd love to see the major banks and stock brokers come to Liverpool as without shadow of a doubt there are people such as myself who I consder to be intelligent who are languishing in temp agency jobs, or worse, call centres, simply because there is not enough employers in the area offering anything else.

People like myself do not feel challeneged and feel underutilised in these crap jobs that seem to fuel the Liverpool ecconomy and feel we have so much more to offer.

All fair points. My opinion about the shops is that shops bring people...people spend money..the shops get successful and want to expand...creating more jobs...that means more people living here that have money to spend.

Couple that with people making the decision to live here because of the increase in the number of shops. You really cannot underestimate how important shopping is to people. I know of at least 4 people who left Liverpool because the lack of shops to their liking. It's just another factor to many people when deciding where to live.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 05:28 PM   #14
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http://www2.halton.gov.uk/pdfs/news/...gionprospectus

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What is stopping us accelerating forward?
• Lack of clarity around the identity of the city region
• Low level skills base linked to a comparatively low tech economy
• Lack of agreement on priority investment projects for the region and declining
public sector investment
• Imbalance between public/private sector employment
• Lack of focus on attracting inward investment - the need to better engage and
harness private sector expertise to increase private sector investment
• Lack of effective and specialist funds for investment in business start up and
retention and mixed messages and poor focus by the public sector to support
business
• Complexity of delivery arrangements for major infrastructure and investment
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Old September 5th, 2007, 05:51 PM   #15
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That's the boroughs building a case for the 'city region'.

The biggest issue is grade A office stock.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 05:54 PM   #16
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Having a good shopping offer is all well and good but it's not great for the people such as myself trapped in the cycle of having to do either retail, agency or call centre work.

Put simply they are not propper jobs.

Also when the inevitable drop in spending (forced by the government/bank of england or not) we will be well and truly fucked. When the hard times hit in....if we don't have other industry and business, we will be screwed. The customer services and retail ecconomy is LONG overdue this decline and the debt people are in to carry on spending cannot carry on.



I want to see an active drive by the council in partnership with the local universities to attract banks, finance houses and stockbrokers, tech companies and comoddities companies.

In my ideal the council and universities would set up departments where kids would study and work for affiliated companies attracted to the area by schemes with massive company tax breaks. It would be a 3 way collaboration.

Kids would study and go to work in one of the industries we want to attract....who would come here for the tx breaks and to get the graduates/trainees. In commodities for example, a kid would study to become a stockbroker/comodity dealer, while also serving a short apprentiship at either a shipping comapny (to learn how the flow of goods come in) and then a stockbroking firm. They would study the entire flow of goods and services into the city and would go on exchanges across the world to the main trading partners who are trading with liverpool and/or use the city/port.


In all of these cases a team would be required to go to America and other countries to attract international input. We can't rely on the likes of Barclays to set up shop here, or we'll be waiting forever. We need to start looking out from this port, internationally towards the States, India, Pakistan and China opening up business and student opportunities.

Basically look further affield.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 06:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evertonian View Post
Having a good shopping offer is all well and good but it's not great for the people such as myself trapped in the cycle of having to do either retail, agency or call centre work.

Put simply they are not propper jobs.

Also when the inevitable drop in spending (forced by the government/bank of england or not) we will be well and truly fucked. When the hard times hit in....if we don't have other industry and business, we will be screwed. The customer services and retail ecconomy is LONG overdue this decline and the debt people are in to carry on spending cannot carry on.



I want to see an active drive by the council in partnership with the local universities to attract banks, finance houses and stockbrokers, tech companies and comoddities companies.

In my ideal the council and universities would set up departments where kids would study and work for affiliated companies attracted to the area by schemes with massive company tax breaks. It would be a 3 way collaboration.

Kids would study and go to work in one of the industries we want to attract....who would come here for the tx breaks and to get the graduates/trainees. In commodities for example, a kid would study to become a stockbroker/comodity dealer, while also serving a short apprentiship at either a shipping comapny (to learn how the flow of goods come in) and then a stockbroking firm. They would study the entire flow of goods and services into the city and would go on exchanges across the world to the main trading partners who are trading with liverpool and/or use the city/port.


In all of these cases a team would be required to go to America and other countries to attract international input. We can't rely on the likes of Barclays to set up shop here, or we'll be waiting forever. We need to start looking out from this port, internationally towards the States, India, Pakistan and China opening up business and student opportunities.

Basically look further affield.
..and I have to say these "big corporations" really aren't about employing mass numbers of people in well-paid, secure full-time jobs- that all changed in the mid-90's...What they are about is maxing the assets by employing part-time, low-pay temps...

Alernatives? Skill-up, get lucky, and/or go self-employed
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Old September 5th, 2007, 07:28 PM   #18
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If a big company can be pulled in here a big company can be pulled out of here.

Developing strong sectors and critical mass of knowledge and skills is far more important - create the environment for sustainable growth.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #19
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all sounds a bit depressing really.... i live in liverpool and work in leeds... i would love to find a job that would pay me the equivalent wage here but it just isn't here. I am a graduate of this city.... but i fear as time goes on and the opportunities remain as limited as they are... that my days here will be numbered and i will become another statistic of a well educated person who has left the city to find better prospects!
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Old September 5th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #20
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It is depressing if there isn't a fit between what you have to offer and what is in demand. The growth areas in Liverpool for graduates who are employed by others are in law, life sciences, petrochemical and, of course teaching (at all levels) and professions related to medicine. The other growth area is in people setting up on their own. If you just want £25K and can live on it and get your fun outside work - there are plenty of jobs provided by the Prison Service and Ashworth!

Lots of people leave London, New York and Paris all the time because they can't manage the fit between what they want and what's available. Ultimately people have to make a choice about what is important to them and the kind of compromises they can live with and the kind of opportunities they can generate for themselves.
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