"Confidence is returning" for those considering forming new businesses following a year of uncertainty, says Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

The latest figures show the number of businesses in Cumbria grew in 2019 from 20,916 to 21,286.

However, figures from the Inform Direct Review of Company Formations, showed there was a fall in the number of new company formations during 2019, when 2,171 new companies were registered, compared to 2,259 during 2018.

Suzanne Caldwell, deputy chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’re not surprised that the number of start-ups fell last year. The uncertainty around Brexit and the general election would have deterred people from taking the plunge – and who can blame them.

“There are signs that confidence is returning so we expect the start-up figures for 2020 to be healthier. The really encouraging stat from last year is that the number of start-ups exceeded the number of businesses being wound-up so the total stock of businesses increased. It’s been the case for some time that business survival rates in Cumbria are well above the national average. That’s partly because of the high quality help available to start-ups here."

She reminded people that new businesses could access help and support via the Cumbria Business Growth Hub BSUS programme.

“I’d strongly recommend that anyone thinking about starting a business talks to the Growth Hub at the earliest opportunity," she said.