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Number of business closures hits record levels

A record number of UK businesses were forced to close last year, new figures have revealed.

The report from the Office for National Statistics shows that more than 800 businesses a day folded between 2009 and 2010, and for the second year running the number of business closures exceeded the number of new start-ups.

In total, around 297,000 businesses collapsed, representing an increase of 20,000 on the previous year. A higher proportion of businesses also collapsed in the early stages, with only 90% managing to survive beyond their first year of trading.

Sectors particularly affected by business closures include business administration and support services, science and technology and construction.

Meanwhile, the health industry appears to be weathering the storm.

While the phenomenon affected all sectors and regions of the UK, London saw the greatest impact, with the loss of 60,000 businesses, while in the North West and South East of England the number of business failures exceeded the number of start-ups by 8,000.