Are you considering a career change, looking to relocate for work opportunities or are simply after a change of scenery? We have created a list of the best UK cities to make your home as a contractor or freelancer. While London is often the first place people think of when it comes to living and working in the UK, there are many other cities which offer plenty of opportunities and are often more affordable.
A textile manufacturing boom made Manchester the world’s first industrialised city. Nowadays, Manchester is known for its media, sports, culture and music. As well as its continued involvement in engineering and science, Manchester has been revealed as having the fastest growing creative industry outside of London. In 2017 a record number of Londoners chose to relocate to the city.
The cost of living in Manchester is reasonable and you can expect to pay around £949 per month to rent a property. The average hourly rate for contractors and freelancers in Manchester is £30 – the same as London – although the contractor and freelancer market is less saturated as there are only around 1,000 roles advertised online. With a Life Satisfaction Score of 7.35/10, it is clear to see that Manchester is an ideal city to live and work.
Brighton & Hove
Brighton & Hove has one of the highest numbers of start-ups in the UK per capita (14,765) and over the last couple of years has emerged as a vibrant tech hub. Since the early days of the internet Brighton has had an active web community; there was a 91% growth in new digital companies incorporated in the city between 2010 and 2013.
However, the cost of living in Brighton is not as cheap as other cities in the UK. On average, you can expect to pay around £1200 per month to rent. But with a Life Satisfaction Score of 7.6/10 (ranking above London) and an average hourly rate £26.50, the perks of living and working in Brighton as a contractor speaks for themselves.
Higher education, scientific research and financial services also account for a substantial portion of the economy and Edinburgh secured more investment than any other tech cluster outside of the capital. With over 20,260 start-ups, contractors and freelancers will find the city a vibrant and busy place to live and work. Edinburgh is an attractive destination for contractors and freelancers as the average hourly rate is £29.50 and rent is relatively inexpensive at around £995 per month.
Leeds is another city that proves just how much opportunity there is up North. The city is one of the UK’s largest legal and financial sectors and has one of the most diverse economies in the UK. Major sectors in the city include food and beverage, engineering, medical technology, chemicals and publishing. It is also home to strong leisure, construction, retail, creative and digital industries.
The council set up the Leeds Tech Hub Fund of £3.7 million to help fund the growing digital economy. Leeds is a bustling metropolitan city ideal for contractors and freelancers as the city offers plenty of start-ups, industries and roles. Contractors and freelancers will benefit from a high average hourly rate (£30) and lower monthly rent than southern cities (£845).
The capital city has a host of opportunities for contractors and freelancers and many major industries can be found there, from technology to finance and manufacturing. It also thrives in the media and tourism sectors. London has over 541,310 start-ups spread across different industries and can offer contractors and freelancers many opportunities for work.
Contractors and freelancers on average charge an hourly rate of £30 and with a Life Satisfaction Score of 7.5/10 it is clear to see that the appeals of London ring true with the self-employed who have already made it their home. However, the cost of living in London is notoriously expensive and on average you can expect to pay around £1,876 per month to rent.
Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and offers a high level of start-ups (20,235) and established businesses, as well as a range of great cafes and co-working hubs for contractors and freelancers. Tourism is strong in Glasgow and it is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Scotland. Other significant industries in Glasgow include biosciences, retail, healthcare, finance, creative industries and communications.
Glasgow is an affordable place to live and you can expect to pay around £598 per month to rent. Contractors and freelancers working in Glasgow can expect an average hourly rate of £25. With a Life Satisfaction Score of 7.46/10, it offers a great location for those looking to save and work.
Contractors and freelancers can expect plenty of opportunities in Bristol. It is the eighth fastest-growing city in the UK, with the main industries being electronics, media and aerospace. Bristol has the highest average hourly rate than any other UK city at £37.50 and has a good Life Satisfaction Score of 7.43.
Business in Bristol is thriving and there are around 6,810 start-ups in the city presenting lots of opportunities for contractors and freelancers. However, the cost of renting in Bristol is not the cheapest and you can expect to pay around £1000 per month.
Belfast ranks the highest out of all UK cities in terms of the Life Satisfaction Score with 7.65/10. Belfast is also an extremely affordable place to live as rent is around £550 per month. However, the average hourly rate is £20 for contractors and freelancers. Northern Ireland’s capital boasts an impressive amount of coffee shops and Wifi hotspots per capita (43,810), so if infrastructure and quality of life are important to you Belfast may present the perfect opportunity.
The central location of Nottingham means it is an ideal location for contractors and freelancers who need to make client visits up and down the country. Life-sciences, low-carbon technologies, digital media, retail, finance and leisure are major contributors to Nottingham’s economy.
The city is home to many major companies in the Creative Quarter and Nottingham Enterprise Zone. Contractors and freelancers benefit from a good average hourly rate of £25, and rental prices are relatively reasonable with rent coming in at around £910 per month.
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Newcastle offers contractors and freelancers a lively metropolitan city lifestyle at a much more affordable cost than the capital. The city boasts low renting costs – you can expect to pay around £789 per month. Contractors and freelancers can look forward to an hourly average rate of £20 and have a wide range of places to work around the city. With a Life Satisfaction Score of 7.29, it is unsurprising that contractors and freelancers are relocating to this northern city.
Churchill Knight will support you on your contract journey
Wherever you choose to live and work in the UK, Churchill Knight & Associates Ltd has a range of payroll and accountancy options to support you on your contract journey. To find out more please call 01707 871622 or request a call back.