IT'S been widely claimed that Brexit uncertainty has damaged business confidence but in Southampton, which voted to leave, there has been a rise in start-ups.

The new business founding rate is up 3.8% in Southampton according to figures from Companies House.

In 2018 across the number of new businesses registered in the UK grew by 6% compared to 2016, the year that Britain voted to leave the EU.

The top five regions with the highest new business growth from 2016 to 2018 all voted leave in the EU referendum with at least a 12% majority.

However, data from the office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that , business investment from Q1 2016 to Q3 2018 only grew by 1.5% with an average amount of investment per quarter of £47.2 million. This is versus a GDP growth in the same period of 4.14%.

The Enterprise Investment Scheme Association (EISA) says that confidence and new business sentiment has long been key to growth and this data reinforces this view.

The EISA says there is a general trend of lower business founding rates in those areas who were more likely to vote remain in the EU referendum in 2016 and uncertainty created by the result in those areas looks to have affected the confidence of entrepreneurs as we near the leave date of March 29.

Mark Brownridge, director general of the EISA, said: “As we near the crucial Brexit crunch point, investment needs to reflect what is evidently, buoyant entrepreneurial sentiment across the country.

"The voting trends linked to this research show broadly that those who voted leave in the 2016 EU referendum have confidence in the new business environment, but this does not seem to be reflected in the investment trends across the same period.

"With new business growth picking back up across 2018 to 6% across the country since 2016, there is positivity across the country regarding post-Brexit business activity.

"What the investor community needs to do now is mirror this new business confidence and offer financial momentum to manifest overwhelming confidence."

Luke Davis, CEO of private investment house IW Capital, said: “This report demonstrates how the ongoing media furore surrounding Brexit does not represent entrepreneurial attitudes on the ground across the country. "The UK continues to be a hotbed of new business ideas and ambitious forward thinkers. The fantastic range of SMEs looking to grow and scale as we approach March 29 is testament to Britain’s attitude to starting businesses and forging our own paths, as people and as a country as a whole.

"Building Brexit resilience has been a keen topic of discussion for the investment community, and these new business attitudes display a robust and ambitious private sector, destined for success in or out of the European Union. "