ALMOST 500 new businesses started up in Halton last year, a new study has revealed.

The figures are likely to be even higher than the statistics suggest as three postcodes, L24, L25 and WA4, also fall into the borough of Halton and are not included in the national enterprise campaign, StartUp Britain.

Halton Council has worked tirelessly to encourage inward investment and given help and support to countless fledgling businesses.

Halton Clr Eddie Jones, board member for economic development, said: "Overall our businesses survive longer, compared to the north west as a whole, despite Halton containing some areas of significant deprivation. This is something we can be proud of, as we are of our local residents who dare to grasp their opportunities.

"The Council has support in place for businesses locally throughout the entire business lifecycle, from pre-start, to start-up, and post-start to high growth and this commitment to our local and national economy will continue. "

Research shows 526,446 businesses were registered with Companies House, beating the 484,224 businesses recorded in 2012, and 440,600 in 2011.