FEWER new companies were formed in Dorset in 2019 amid the uncertainty in business and politics.

There were 8,020 new companies formed in the county last year, compared with 8,314 in 2018 – a drop of 3.5 per cent.

That puts the county behind the UK average, dropping from 17th to 19th in the national league table for company formations.

The total number of registered companies in the county grew by 2.3 per cent to 57,606.

John Korchak, director of operations at Inform Direct, said: “With the last 12 months presenting a very challenging environment for businesses – in terms of political and economic uncertainty – it is not surprising that some counties, including Dorset, have experienced a fall in the number of new businesses being established compared to 2018.

“However, this picture is not replicated throughout the UK.

“Some counties have seen a record year for new company formations and the UK as a whole has experienced an all-time high of nearly 700,000 new businesses being established over the year,” he added.

The figures are contained in the Inform Direct Review of Company Formations, using data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics.

Nationally, there was a record number of formations – 690,763, compared with 669,855 the previous year.

The total number of UK companies grew 3.8 per cent to a new high of 4.47m.

Poole saw 3,078 companies formed in 2019, taking its total to 18,010, while Bournemouth had 2,311, making a total of 15,154.

Figures for the rest of the county were: East Dorset 634 (total companies 5,703), West Dorset 628 (7,832), Christchurch 307 (2,657), North Dorset 303 (3,227), Weymouth and Portland 193 (1,694).

Ninety-seven per cent of new companies in Dorset – 7,776 businesses – were private limited companies.

There were 131 companies limited by guarantee, 61 limited liability partnerships, 49 community interest companies, one public limited company and one other.