Number of new businesses in city falls amid Brexit fears

Brexit isnt stopping all investment, with Kenny Blair bringing a Scotts restaurant to South Queensferry. Picture: Contributed
Brexit isnt stopping all investment, with Kenny Blair bringing a Scotts restaurant to South Queensferry. Picture: Contributed
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THE number of new businesses being launched in the Capital has fallen amid fears of uncertainty sparked by Brexit.

Statistics compiled by financial information firm DueDil looked at the number of companies being formed in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter of last year in the UK’s largest towns and cities.

A total of 1596 new firms were registered in the Capital over the first three months of this year – down 8.4 per cent on the same period last year.

In 2016, 1742 businesses were set up between January and March as Edinburgh was named the UK’s Entrepreneurial City of the Year in 2016.

DueDil said nervousness over the United Kingdom’s imminent exit from the European Union may have been responsible for the drop – but city business leaders said there was no cause for concern.

Gordon Henderson, from the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Just last month, Edinburgh was announced as the best place in the UK to start up a business.

“It really is a fantastic place to do so as there is a lot of support here.

“However, this study emphasises the fact that Edinburgh can’t rest on its morals, we have to keep concentrating on ensuring it remains the best place to start up a business.

“I wouldn’t be too concerned over the figures from just one quarter but if the pattern continued I think we would need to take a closer look at what was going on. Things can change so quickly.”

Glasgow saw modest growth of 2.5 per cent in its start-up rate, with 2071 companies being formed compared to 2021 in 2016.

Aberdeen also saw a similar percentage rise, with 481 companies being formed compared to 470.

Dundee was the worst performing city in Scotland with a drop from 382 to 346 – a fall of 11.7 per cent.

The UK-wide figures showed Salford saw the highest start-up growth rate, with 1393 new companies formed in the first quarter of this year, a growth rate of 85.5 per cent.

Second place was Leicester, which experienced growth of 34.5 per cent followed by Norwich, Liverpool and Oxford.

London recorded a modest start-up growth rate of 5.1 per cent although not surprisingly it continued to produce more start-ups than anywhere else in the UK, with 57,235 companies starting up in the first quarter of 2017.

Based on the numbers from last year and the start-up growth for the first quarter of 2017, DueDil have predicted 668,759 companies will be set up this year, a drop of 17,096 compared to 2016.

Justin Fitzpatrick, chief operating officer of DueDil, said: “The overall decrease in start-up growth across the UK, is perhaps demonstrating a cautious attitude towards enterprise with Brexit looming.”