The stock of small businesses in England and Wales could drop by as much as 150,000 by early 2010, according to Barclays, blowing the froth off the UK’s enterprise culture. The ardour of would-be entrepreneurs has already been damped by tighter credit and tougher trading conditions, the bank reports.
“We will probably see the [business] stock fall by up to 150,000 in the course of the downswing,” said Richard Roberts, head of small and medium-sized enterprise analysis at Barclays. “Growth has already stopped – closures have been higher than start-ups for some time.”
His forecast covers ventures large enough to have business bank accounts. These have risen in number to about 2.85m in response to steady growth and low interest rates.