RISING costs and shoppers’ changing habits have been blamed for hundreds of businesses closing their doors for good in Barnsley last year.

Shock new figures from the Office for National Statistics show 970 businesses in Barnsley ceased trading in 2022.

Some 7,550 businesses were active in the town last year, meaning the ‘business death rate’ – the percentage of businesses that closed – has grown to 12.8 per cent.

This is marginally above the ‘business birth rate’ – the percentage of businesses that began trading – of 12.7 per cent, with around 960 created last year.

In his autumn statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a range of tax cuts to aid businesses.

It comes as more UK businesses closed since records began in 2002, surpassing the number of new start-ups founded for the first year since 2010.

Transport and storage businesses particularly struggled, with the highest death rate at 23.8 per cent, almost double any other industry, which the Institute of Directors said was caused by ‘higher business costs and declining disposable income’.

Information and communication businesses had the second-highest death rate at 13.6 per cent, while accommodation and food services, and retail industries had the joint-third highest at 12.8 per cent.

However, information and communication also had a higher percentage of high-growth businesses than any other industry, while retail and leisure venues – particularly those in the town centre – flourished.

Coun Robert Franklin, cabinet spokesperson for core services, said: “In Barnsley, we have bold ambitions for what we want our borough to be, making it a place that fosters and grows ambition for years to come.

“Our latest performance report highlights the fantastic progress we’re making towards our vision.

“We’re incredibly proud of the rich cultural offer we have, making our borough such a great place to visit and explore.

“As part of our ambitions, we continue to prioritise early support for local businesses to help them tackle the current economic challenges.

“We’ve invested in our Launchpad programme to encourage more new businesses to start in Barnsley, but also help them survive and thrive.

“Whilst every business closure is of concern, the number of business closures in Barnsley was considerably lower than both the regional and UK averages.

“National survival rates show businesses are surviving longer in Barnsley at key three-year and five-year survival rates, and the number of high-growth enterprises have increased from 20 per cent to 25 per cent, outperforming both national and regional trends.

“We continue to monitor our local economy as part of our day-to-day efforts to maintain Barnsley as a great place to do business.

“Business confidence in the borough remains high – from April 2021, £175m of private sector investment has been secured in Barnsley, resulting in 57 companies relocating to the area.

“This is, in part, thanks to the significant progress that has been made with the construction of new industrial space and highways infrastructure improvements which has created new employment opportunities.

“Any businesses requiring support can visit enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk for further information.”