Scottish business start-up numbers show slight decline

The number of new business start-ups has fallen in Scotland over the last five years '“ but not as much as in the UK as a whole, according to new analysis.

Orkney saw the biggest rise in start-up numbers across Scotland over the past five years. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Orkney saw the biggest rise in start-up numbers across Scotland over the past five years. Picture: Donald MacLeod

Bank of Scotland figures show that 3 per cent fewer new businesses got off the ground in Scotland in November last year, compared to the same month in 2011.

That contrasted with the overall UK figure, which was down by just over 19 per cent.

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Experts said the downward trend was probably due to the “uncertain economic environment”, and described the Scottish data as “encouraging” when set against the figures for south of the Border.

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The data from BankSearch shows Wales has seen the largest decline in new start-ups, falling by 26 per cent between a rolling 12 months from November 2011 compared to November 2016.

England has also been hit hard, declining by a fifth. Since that is where the greatest volume of new-start businesses are launched, this equates to nearly 100,000 fewer new businesses created in 2016 compared to 2011, the study found.

Figures for Scotland show almost half of the country’s regions have seen growth in the number of start-up businesses over the last five years.

A regional breakdown shows Orkney is the biggest success story, leaping by more than a third from 83 in 2011 to 118 in 2016.

The Highlands saw a 15 per cent increase from 1,180 new start-ups in 2011, rising to 1,354 last year, while Aberdeenshire and Midlothian witnessed improvements of 10 per cent.

Glasgow came in at 15th, declining by 1.4 per cent, while Edinburgh was 21st on the list, decreasing by almost 7 per cent.

All parts of Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway and Argyll and Bute saw reductions of 17 per cent or more.

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Jo Harris, managing director of retail business banking at Bank of Scotland, said: “The recent downward trend we’ve seen in new business start-ups is likely to be a response to the uncertain economic environment; however there are significant opportunities if you have the determination and drive and we will be there to support you every step of the way.

“We are committed to supporting small businesses and are proud that Lloyds Banking Group helped more than 100,000 new start-ups in 2016.”