Sharp fall in start-up formation due to Brexit uncertainty

According to a recent study, the number of new businesses starting up in the UK saw a sharp fall last year, with researchers blaming the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit for the decline.

The research found that the number of company formations fell from 325,900 in 2017 to 284,000 last year, which was a decline of 12.9 per cent on average across the UK, although there were several fluctuations regionally.

For example, Northern Ireland saw one of the biggest drops overall at around 15 per cent. Meanwhile, Swindon and Wiltshire saw the biggest drops in England with 45 per cent fewer start-ups in 2018 than during the year before.

However, three areas across the UK saw increases, namely, the north of Northern Ireland, Liverpool and Worcestershire, which recorded increases of 2.6 per cent, 2.8 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively.

As one of the report’s authors commented, taking into consideration all the evidence together, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Brexit uncertainty is causing the grassroots economy to stutter.

He added that while this may not yet have fed through to employment numbers, policymakers need to be aware of the warning signs and create the certainty businesses are craving.

However, while another commentator agreed that Brexit is causing uncertainty, she still believes that there are plenty of opportunities for firms to grow, adding that businesses that can prove strong demand for their product or service are still able to raise funding and, in certain niches, at very high valuations.

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