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Cumbria near bottom of business starts list

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 4:35PM

CUMBRIA has found itself trailing at the bottom of a national leaderboard ranking the number of businesses being set up.

According to new research by Inform Direct, there were 1,979 businesses founded across the county last year, a figure which sees Cumbria come 43rd out of 47 counties across England.

Cumbria was ahead of only Northumberland, Herefordshire, the Isle of Wight and Rutland in the league tables and immediately beaten by Durham, Shropshire and Cornwall. The county also found itself far behind the national average of 10.5 new businesses in terms of businesses founded for every 1,000 people, with a score of just four.

Suzanne Caldwell, deputy chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s important to remember that these stats are just about company formations, they don’t include self employment and the full picture depends on the mix of company formation and people setting up as sole traders in any particular area. You also have to be careful with the per head of population stats as we do have a higher than average retired population – including significant numbers of early retirees still included within the working age population.”

“It’s also the case the with virtually full employment in much of the county, people in Cumbria have more options open to them than in many other areas of the country.”

Across the Carlisle City Council area, a total of 483 businesses were formed, with the largest increase seen in the Stanwix Rural ward which saw 71 new businesses established and 22 folding. In Allerdale the figure was 351, Copeland had 197 and Eden had 184.

Chris Ward, chairman of the Cumbrian branch of the Institute of Directors, said: “I would say that if you were to look at GDP per capita, Cumbria is most likely on or close to the national average, we have a big land mass here that’s not very populated and of course it’s people that set up companies. I’m not massively surprised by the figures, the number of businesses is going up but it would be nice if we could see less companies being dissolved and more staying open so that we can improve the figures."

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