SCOTLAND has seen a drop in the number of new start-ups in the past five years, but not as significant a fall as the UK as a whole, according to a new report.

Bank of Scotland (BoS) says three per cent fewer businesses were started up here last November compared to the same month in 2011, while the UK figure dropped by 19 per cent.

The bank says the view in Scotland is encouraging, with almost half (14 of 32) of Scottish regions seeing growth in the number of start-ups over the last five years.

It comes after previous research from its “How Scotland Lives” study which showed that more than one-in-nine Scots anticipate starting a company on their own or with a partner, the equivalent to 12 per cent of the Scottish adult population of 4,459,590.

The Orkney Islands is revealed as the biggest success story – here the start-ups figure leapt by more than a third (42 per cent) from just 83 in 2011 to 118 in 2016.

Last month the area was rated the best place to live in Scotland for its low unemployment rates, among other things, for the fourth year running in another BoS survey.

The Highlands also saw a fair increase – up 15 per cent from 1,180 new start-ups in 2011, to 1,354 in 2016. Aberdeenshire and Midlothian both saw improvements of 10 per cent, and Moray has increased by a little over eight per cent.

Jo Harris, managing director of BoS retail business banking, said: “The new year is a time when people aim to make a fresh start. There’s no bigger or braver change you can make than starting your own business.

“The recent downward trend we’ve seen in new business start-ups is likely to be a response to the uncertain economic environment; however, there are significant opportunities if you have the determination and drive and we will be there to support you every step of the way.

“At Bank of Scotland we understand that starting a new business is a serious dream for many, not just an unrealistic New Year’s resolution.

“Building a business from scratch takes hard work and persistence, and it may not even succeed the first time round.

“We are committed to supporting small businesses and are proud that Lloyds Banking Group helped more than 100,000 new start-ups in 2016.”

Glasgow City ranked 15th in the start-up table, dropping by just over one per cent in 2016 compared to 2011, with a total of 28,163 new businesses launched. The City of Edinburgh, which ranked 21st, decreased by almost seven per cent – a total of 24,134 start-ups in the same period.

The worst affected areas in Scotland are seen in the bottom five regions which all saw reductions in the number of new businesses launched in 2016.

South Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway and Argyll and Bute all dropped by more than a fifth with 23, 22 and 20 per cent fewer new businesses, respectively. East Ayrshire fell by just under 18 per cent, and North Ayrshire by 17 per cent making these the five worst affected parts of Scotland.

The data also shows that Wales has seen the largest decline in new start-ups, falling by over a quarter (26 per cent) between November 2011 and November 2016.

England has also been hit hard, declining by a fifth (20 per cent).

This is where the greatest volume of new start businesses are launched, so this equates to nearly 100,000 fewer new businesses created in 2016 compared to 2011.