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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 07:10 GMT
UK business start-ups down again
Man in silhouette
Entrepreneurs are keeping their heads down
The number of UK business start-ups has fallen again, but there are signs that entrepreneurs are regaining their confidence, according to a closely-watched survey.

The number of people launching their own businesses during the final three months of 2001 fell by just 6% compared with the same period a year earlier, Barclays bank said on Wednesday.

That compares with an on-year decline of 27% during the October to December period 2000.

And business starts in the manufacturing sector registered a surprise 14% increase, adding to recent evidence that British industry is poised for recovery.

Outlook 'improving'

"These figures are quite encouraging, showing signs of recovery in the UK after what has been a particularly tough year for entrepreneurs," said Barclays managing director of small business and start-ups Mike Rogers.

"Looking ahead, we are optimistic about people's resilience to these challenging times."

However, the figures confirm that a recent slowdown in the services sector is being felt at grass-roots level, with computer and professional service start-ups plummeting by 48% and 36% respectively.

And regions where entrepreneurial activity thrived during the late 1990s boom are now lagging behind, with business start-ups in the south-east tumbling by 18%.

In contrast, new business launches fell by just 6% in the West Midlands, and remained stable in Yorkshire.

The foot and mouth crisis and the impact of the 11 September attacks made 2001 one of the most difficult years on record for British entrepreneurs.

See also:

02 Nov 01 | England
Foot-and-mouth fears fade
10 Jul 01 | Business
Revenue targets small firms
20 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
Security grants offered to small businesses
07 Mar 01 | Budget 2001
Tax cuts target small business
12 Feb 01 | Business
Small business finds new optimism
27 Nov 00 | Scotland
Banks 'in the red' over service
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