SUNDERLAND is languishing near the bottom of a national league of business creation.
While Newcastle is exactly in line with the UK average of six new businesses launched for every 10,000 adults a year, Sunderland sees just half that number set up.
Newcastle’s figure is in the top half of the table and the same as London and Manchester although lagging behind front-runners Bristol and Swindon with 11, said accountant UHY Torgersens’ research. Middlesbrough performs well with five, the same as Edinburgh and York and way above bottom-of-the-league Wolverhampton with minus 17, indicating a decline in the number of businesses setting up.
There appears to be little north-south divide in the figures which compares the number of VAT registrations against the number of VAT deregistrations to measure the net growth of new businesses within the UK’s 50 largest towns and cities.
Martin Johnson, partner at UHY Torgersens, said: “UHY Torgersens says that Sunderland has been more successful in attracting larger companies to set up business in the city than it has in creating its own flow of new growing businesses.
However, the firm said these figures are an indication of the tendency of Government agencies to direct funding into Newcastle as the regional capital, giving the city an advantage over Sunderland.
“Business growth in Newcastle is level with the UK average,’’ said Mr Johnson.
“Nevertheless, if the North-East wants to be seen as more attractive than other regions within the UK, transport links will have to be improved and significant investments will need to be made into road infrastructure in order to attract business. And if Sunderland is to create more new businesses and to retain existing businesses, then the regional development agency will need to focus more funding into Sunderland.
“Sunderland’s business community has gone a long way to shaking off its industrial legacy.
It has become a hotspot for attracting international investment, with organisations such as Nissan, EDF Energy, T-Mobile, Barclays and CitiFinancial moving into the city.”