Number of companies in East of England continues to grow

John Korchak of Inform Direct.
Picture: Keith Mindham

John Korchak of Inform Direct. Picture: Keith Mindham - Credit: Photo: Keith Mindham Photography

The number of companies in the eastern region continued to grow during 2017 but the rate of new formations relative to the population lagged behind the national average, according to new figures.

Company secretarial software company Inform Direct has tracked the performance of each UK county over the past year, using data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics.

Nationally, 634,116 companies were formed last year, contributing to a 4% increase in the total number of companies at the year-end to 4,120,349 and representing 10 new companies per 1,000 people.

However, although Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire all bettered the national trend in terms of overall growth, the rate of new company formations per person failed to match the average for the UK as a whole.

Essex delivered the strongest performance with a total of 15,922 new company formations, representing a rate of 9.2 per 1,000 people. Taking into account the number of companies dissolved during the year, this resulted in the total number of companies in the county increasing by 4.1% compared with 2016 to 116,669.

In Cambridgeshire, the total of 6,384 formations represented 7.9 new companies per 1,000 people, with the year-end total increasing by 6,1% to 46,059.

In Suffolk, the total of 4,145 companies formed represented 5.7 per 1,000 people while in Norfolk the figure of 4,399 formations equated to 5.1 per 1,000 people. However, the number of companies at the year-end grew by 4.5% in Suffolk to 33,994 and that in Norfolk by 6.1% 36,459.

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Inform Direct is based in Ipswich and was a member of the 2016 cohort of the Future50 community for up-and-coming businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk.

John Korchak, the company’s director of operations, said that the number of new company formations nationally was down compared with 2016, at 634,116 against 664,720.

“This slowdown could be attributed, at least in part, to ongoing political uncertainty and concern in the business community over the impact of Brexit,” he said.

However, with fewer businesses being dissolved, the total number of companies continued to rise, and has now grown by 33.4% since 2012.

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