IT boss urges companies to look north

Manchester is fast becoming the location of choice for many high-tech industries, according to an expert.

London and the south east accounted for half of all the jobs advertised in the UK in June but despite this many IT and media companies are choosing to look elsewhere in the country.

Recently the BBC moved a major part of its operation from London to MediaCity UK in Salford Quays - with ITV's Granada division set to move there soon.

"Work in High Tech industries is not as concentrated on London as in other sectors. High rents can force new companies out of the capital and more and more IT companies of all sizes have been migrating to the North West where Manchester is rapidly developing itself as the UK's high-tech hub," said Scott Fletcher chairman and founder of cloud infrastructure specialists ANS Group plc.

Despite a 0.6% increase in gross domestic product, there are still fears that more new jobs are being created in the south east.

Mr Fletcher added: "The biggest increase in new jobs have been developed in the manufacturing sector and they do seem to be concentrated in the south east which makes it more important than ever high-tech industries continue to gravitate to the north west."

Large companies such as PZ Cussons, The Co-operative Group, Umbro and the Peel Group are already based in Manchester along with multi-nationals like Kelloggs, Adidas and Siemens.

Mr Fletcher said having such big companies in the area has had a knock-on effect for other businesses.

He said: "Such a density of global companies fosters a burgeoning digital sector and the North West boasts the second-largest 'digital cluster' in Europe and is probably the fastest growing industry sector in the UK."

ANS Group has developed next-generation cloud-based IT solutions and Mr Fletcher said that working in partnership with major partners like Cisco and NetApp - both of which are based in Manchester - has helped the project.

He added: "These advances in technology mean that we can build stateless, fluid IT infrastructures that can deliver far greater computing power for a reduced spend. All businesses seek to reduce costs and maximise productivity and the cloud can deliver for them," said Mr Fletcher.

"It is the commitment to excellence that has attracted an already-huge amount of investments into the exciting new projects going on in Manchester."

Copyright Press Association 2013