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Cost of doing business in Scotland

Thinking of a cost-effective location to grow your business? Compared to the rest of Europe, including cities like London, Dublin and Berlin, Scotland is a less expensive location to do business.

Last updated: October 2022

Your money goes further

Scotland is a great place to locate your business - and latest reports show it’s less expensive to live and work in Scotland than cities like London, Zurich, Paris and Dublin.

The money you spend on staff will go much further in Scotland, because the cost of living is so much lower here than in many other parts of the UK.

And you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how attractive your labour costs will be.

Lower set-up and living costs for higher return on investment

As well as being more cost effective than other leading locations for locating businesses, Scotland has plenty of other impressive numbers that can support your decision-making.

  • Costs up to 40% less than London

    *Scotland is an extremely cost-effective location for property, staff and cost of living compared to London.

  • Low-risk location

    Scotland is a stable, safe and secure location with strong, transparent government and robust legal institutions with coherent regulatory practices.

*Source: Cushman & Wakefield Global Occupier Metrics (May 2020)

Property and sites to suit your business

Scotland offers a diverse range of property solutions to suit your needs. From city centre locations and business parks that are within an easy commute of a working community of 2.8 million people, to rural sites, industrial units, large-scale manufacturing plants, port-side hardstanding facilities and development land for new build options, we can help you find the perfect location.

Contact us 

Benchmarking your business costs

When estimating operating costs for a new facility, there are several important factors to consider. These include the type and size of facility you're looking to set up, the number of people you'll employ and the functions that the site will perform.

The following chart shows the average annual cost of running a 50-person regional headquarters facility in four Scottish cities (Dundee, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh) and in six other European business locations.

This site would typically house senior management personnel, finance, HR, sales and other crucial parts of the business.

Graph comparing regional headquarters operating costs in 10 European cities

Source: Financial Times fDi Benchmark (October 2022)

From this comparison, we can see that:

  • Costs are at least 20% lower in Scotland than in the other locations (comparing Edinburgh and Berlin) and as much as 60% lower (comparing Dundee and Zurich).
  • Costs in all four Scottish cities are less than in Dublin and Berlin, which both offer lower-than-average facility costs.
  • Comparing UK capital cities, it's 48% cheaper on average to run a headquarters facility in Edinburgh than in London.

If you need more information and support for costing your specific project, our expert advisers can help you benchmark costs in your desired locations.

Funding and incentives

If you locate your business in Scotland, you'll be able to take advantage of a wide range of funding and incentives. This will help you put your business on a solid footing from the beginning.

This support can include grants, tax relief, venture funding and lots more. Through these interventions, you'll be able to make your business more productive, efficient and sustainable, allowing you to support activities like research and development, greening your business, or training support.

Learn more about financial and tax incentives 

A place that's home

Of course, we understand that you need to consider more than just the cost of living before deciding to set up business or operations in a new country. You'll benefit from Scotland's welcoming business environment, diverse industries, vibrant cities and our stunning landscapes too. A place you can call home.

That’s why Scotland has enjoyed a strong track record of inward investment over the last ten years.

Watch our inspirational video and learn how Scotland can offer even more.

Enjoy a fantastic quality of life

By investing in Scotland, you’ll still have the connections with our partners and networks and easy access to world markets you need to grow your business. And, with convenient commute times between our major cities, Scotland gives you the opportunity to find the work-life balance that suits you. Got questions about healthcare, housing, education or culture in Scotland? can help answer your questions.

Find out more about living in Scotland on Scotland.orgopens in a new window 

You might have heard of our stunning scenery, our vibrant cities and our famous golf courses – our low cost of living gives you even more chance to enjoy them all. City? Countryside? You don't choose, you get both. Coast to coast, learn about Scotland's vibrant cities and regions.

Find out more about locations to live and work on Scotland.orgopens in a new window 

You might also be interested in

  • Investment opportunities

    Scotland is one of Europe's top investment locations with its smart cities, enterprising business parks and prime real estate, all open to you. 

  • Financial and tax incentives

    We can provide the financial support you need to make your project come alive.

  • Our people and skills

    Companies that invest in Scotland have access to an exceptionally educated, skilled and talented workforce. 

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