Over 15,000 businesses have disappeared from London since 2010, according to a survey carried out by financial analyst Experian. While some areas associated with the Olympics saw an increase, overall the number of businesses in the capital fell from 1,043,983 to 1,028,695.
The London Borough of Hounslow was hardest hit, with nearly one fifth of its businesses closing over the last two years. Some 3,169 companies were lost to insolvencies, relocations and closures, representing 17.5 per cent of the 2010 total. Even Westminster, which includes the capital's retail heartland, lost 11,076 companies, equivalent to 9.8 per cent of the 2010 level.
Councillor Ruth Cadbury, Hounslow Council's deputy leader, said:
The economic downturn has been challenging and there's no doubt local traders are finding it hard to survive. We have some major corporations based in the borough, but the majority are small businesses, which form a vibrant part of our community. The economic downturn has been challenging for them and there's no doubt that local traders are finding it hard to survive.
Other boroughs saw a sharp increase in the numbers of start-up businesses. In Barking and Dagenham, some 7,685 new businesses have been set up since 2010, increasing the total number by 38.6 per cent. The unlikely top performer for new businesses was Newham, which saw the number rise by 43.3 per cent to 14,672. Newham has benefited from significant levels of investment connected to the creation of the Olympic Park as well as a major regeneration project around the new Westfield Shopping centre.