CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has called on the Welsh Government to provide more support for new businesses starting up in North Wales.
The AM made the plea as the latest set of economic data indicated the number of businesses that ceased trading in 2011 was higher than the number being created.
According to Census data there were 1,855 VAT registered enterprise births in North Wales in 2011 and 1,905 VAT registered enterprise deaths. In total the numbers of VAT Registered businesses in North Wales had fallen by 425 since 2010 to stand at 21,710 in 2011.
The AM said the figures showed the regional economy was still struggling to recover and called for better access to start-up finance and more advice for individuals developing a new business in its first few years.
Enterprise and Business Committee Member KEN SKATES said:
“It is worrying that the numbers of businesses being created is being outstripped by the numbers that ceased trading.
“This is important because 94% of all businesses in North Wales employ less than ten people. If we are seeing a decline in the numbers of small businesses that do not get through their first few years then this needs to be addressed.
“We need to see a much closer focus on the needs of people starting a new business and a greater understanding of the barriers they face. Access to finance for micro sized businesses is still a very big issue and organisations like Finance Wales needs to do more to help small businesses get access to funding and capital.
“In addition we need to look at the start-up advice and continuing support they receive to see them through the difficult first few months and years.
“Of course there will always be a turnover of businesses, some ideas and concepts will not make it whatever the economic conditions. However if we continue to see businesses close their doors without new ones to take their place then our regional economy in North Wales will continue to bump along the bottom.
“Every one of the six counties in North Wales saw a decline in the number of registered businesses over the 2010-11 period and this slide needs to be addressed. We need a good mix of employment right across North Wales as well as a healthy and vigorous rate of new business start-ups.”
Within North Wales, the stock of VAT/PAYE registered enterprises per 10,000 resident population aged 16-64 in 2011 ranged from 442 in Wrexham to 585 in Gwynedd.
The business birth rate is the proportion of active businesses that began trading in the reporting year. The business death rate is the proportion of active businesses that ceased trading in the reporting year.