Overview of the business sectors in Hackney

Hackney’s economy has changed drastically since 2000. Between 1994-2004, Hackney saw a 27% drop in VAT registered businesses in manufacturing. Factory and warehouse space decreased by nearly 18% between 2000 and 2003, the 3rd biggest loss of factory space in London. Over the same period, real estate and property and business activities grew by 95%. Food and beverage and accommodation businesses rose by 54%.

By 2010, science, technical and professional businesses are the most common in Hackney, followed by firms working in information and communication, arts, entertainment and leisure. 48% of Hackney’s economy specialises in these sectors, 5% more than London as a whole. Business administration and support services, property and retail/wholesale are the next major categories of Hackney firms.

The GLA’s 2010 Economic Evidence Base identifies comparative advantages for London in computers and information and to a large extent in cultural, personal and recreational services. The knowledge economy includes creative and high tech and business services firms. Over the past decade, these firms have thrived in Hackney filling the spaces the factories left behind.

However, these are broad categories. Investment and policy decisions require refined information about specific products, employment levels and spatial organization of firms in the borough. The following analysis takes apart these sector categories to reveal the footprint of the businesses within them. It is also important to note that these sectors have many more businesses than employees. Many of the creative and technology companies are very small and can be missed in statistics that use employee or tax data as a means of including the business in a dataset. In all likelihood, the figure of 4,500 creative and technology businesses in Hackney is an undercount.