A RECORD number of businesses have been set up in York and North Yorkshire during the past year.

Latest figures show that 8,200 new companies were registered in 2020, compared to 7,260 during 2019 - an increase of 12.9 per cent.

This was a new record high for the third year in a row, bringing the total number of registered companies in North Yorkshire to 58,526, up from 54,481 at the end of 2019, a 7.4 per cent growth.

During the same period, 4,289 companies in North Yorkshire were dissolved.

The figures are based on data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics and compiled by company secretarial software specialists Inform Direct Inform Direct Review of Company Formations.

York had the highest number of new businesses - 1,882 - by the end of 2020, with a total number of 11,911 businesses in the city.

Harrogate had 1,316 new businesses, with a total of 11,917; in Selby, there were 511 new businesses, bringing the total to 3,933. Ryedale saw 265 new businesses formed in 2020, raising the total to 2,450.

In Scarborough, there were 509 new companies registered, boosting the overall figure to 4,699, while in Hambleton those figures were 478 new businesses, and a total 4,480.

John Korchak, operations director at Inform Direct, said: “It is excellent news to see that North Yorkshire has achieved a record year for new company formations during 2020 despite the unprecedented uncertainties brought by Covid-19.

“Many of the new company formations are in the retail sector, with a large number of new businesses set up to sell goods online or locally, thereby taking advantage of customers’ changing shopping habits.

"Secondly, the effect of the pandemic and national lockdowns means that sadly some existing businesses have folded and employees made redundant, and we see many of those people setting up new ventures on their own as an alternative way to earn a living.

“2020 was a year like no other for UK businesses. Although we can look forward to a brighter future with the vaccination programme, there remain unknown factors such as how quickly the economy will recover and of course the impact of Brexit.”

The UK saw a record-breaking 780,766 new businesses formed, compared to 690,763 in 2019, with the overall number of UK companies growing to 4.8m - up 8.2 per cent on the 4.4m at the end of 2019.

The number of company dissolutions across the UK – 418,427 during 2020 – was the lowest since 2015.

This positive trend may change, especially when Government support for businesses is withdrawn.New enterprises set up during the pandemic might also be short-lived, as people return to full-time employment or struggle to take the business to the next level.