The area’s economy is diverse and based around the growth areas of financial services, food and drink, tourism, life sciences, and the creative sector. The Borders Railway will greatly reduce commuter times between the city of Edinburgh and Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. Access to Edinburgh Airport and mainline railway routes to the rest of the UK will be greatly improved enabling businesses in outlying areas to improve their access to national, European, and global markets.
There are over 27,000 businesses in the area, 90 per cent of which are small and micro businesses employing less than 50 people. Key employers include Royal Bank of Scotland, the NHS, Standard Life, Tesco, and Lyle and Scott. The area as a whole contributed £21 billion to the Scottish economy in 2013.
The area has a flexible and skilled workforce with high levels of educational attainment. Eighty-nine per cent of people aged 16-64 have the equivalent of five or more GCSEs at grades A-C or above, with 36 per cent being educated to degree level or higher. In 2013, 72% of Modern Apprentices completed their course.
The population of the railway corridor area was 155,817 according to the 2011 Census and included a working-age population of 92,231. The overall population of Edinburgh, Midlothian, and the Scottish Borders in 2014 was 692,920, including a working-age population of 466,000.
The number of jobs available per working age resident varies across the area from 1.02 in Edinburgh to 0.64 in Midlothian. There is therefore a readily available workforce in the city’s hinterland.