More London firms closing than opening for first time in six years

 A pedestrian walks past a closed shop on Hampstead High Street on February 28, 2021 in London, (Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks past a closed shop on Hampstead High Street on February 28, 2021 in London, (Getty Images)

The number of new businesses opening in the capital is now being outstripped by closures for the first time in six years, figures show.

London is the worst region for closures in the UK after suffering a net loss of 7,695 local enterprises in 2022.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that 76,730 small businesses shut last year compared with just 69,035 openings.

In contrast, there were 67,363 business closures in the city in 2017 and 76,960 openings – a net gain of over 9,500.

This figure reached an all-time high in 2019 as the capital saw a net gain of almost 15,000 businesses.

It comes as businesses are set to see 85 per cent of their energy support cut after the Government chose not to extend the Energy Bills Relief Scheme in the Spring Budget.

Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson and MP for Richmond Park, has criticised the Government in wake of the figures.

She said: “Behind these alarming numbers are individuals, families and homeowners simply trying to stay afloat. London’s businesses are the backbone of our communities yet too many shops, cafes and restaurants are boarded up.

“London’s tech entrepreneurs who power growth desperately need a helping hand, instead they’ve been strangled by years of economic chaos, Brexit related red tape and stagnant growth.

“The Conservative Government are ignoring the plight of London’s businesses. Rather than growing opportunities in the capital, these figures show the Government has quite literally done the opposite.

“Jeremy Hunt needs to step up immediately, review his plans to slash energy support, and give London’s businesses the support they need.”

Previously, energy costs were capped under the Energy Bill Relief scheme, but that has now been replaced by the Energy Bills Discount scheme. This new scheme will only see bills disconted while not capping enery costs.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy has been contacted for comment.