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By Tom,

New startup numbers drop 13% ‘due to Brexit’

The number of new companies starting up around the UK has fallen by 13 per cent in 2018, new analysis of the health of the grassroots economy has found.

The UK Local Growth Dashboard, compiled by the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), found that in 2018, the number of new startups fell by almost 42,000, with some parts of the country faring worse than others.

Swindon and Wiltshire saw the biggest falls, with 45 percent fewer startups launched. In Northern Ireland, the figure was 15 per cent lower than that seen in 2017. Just three places around the UK saw a rise in startups – the north of Northern Ireland (up 2.6 per cent), Liverpool (2.8 per cent) and Worcestershire (9.2 per cent).

In all, 284,000 firms were established in 2018, with the three-year survival rate standing at 55 per cent. When it comes to scale-ups, two percent of new companies succeeded in growing their turnover to £1 million or more inside three years.

Deputy director of the ERC and professor of small business and entrepreneurship at Aston Business School Mark Hart explained that the analysis does show some warning signs about the health of the UK’s private sector economy, with entrepreneurs now waiting to see what’s going to happen with Brexit before launching.

“While established firms are clearly still growing successfully in many parts of the country, it’s frustrating that productivity growth still seems to elude the vast majority.

“Taken together, it seems hard to avoid the conclusion that Brexit uncertainty is causing the grassroots economy to stutter. This may not yet have fed through to employment numbers, but policymakers need to be aware of the warning signs and create the certainty businesses are craving,” he went on to say.

The latest on Brexit is that the Liberal Democrats have promised that they’ll revoke Article 50 and cancel it all if they come to power in the next general election. According to the BBC, the new policy was voted for at the party conference in Bournemouth by a huge majority.

Leader Jo Swinson confirmed that before an election is called, the Lib Dems would carry on working with other opposition parties to campaign for another referendum to help put a stop to a “dangerous” no-deal Brexit scenario.

The government is still trying to secure a deal with the EU so it can leave when the deadline arrives on October 31st. Boris Johnson is set to meet with European Commission president Luxembourg as negotiations continue.

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