A record number of new businesses opened in the borough last year.

New statistics from businesses analysts Duport has found that 863 new companies were formed in Sutton last year – the highest number since records began.

The report also shows that business confidence in the area strengthened as the year went on and the borough's Opportunity Sutton drive to attract jobs and growth to the area is starting to take effect.

Peter Valaitis, Duport managing director, said: "The record number of company formations last year is a positive sign for the economy of Sutton. New business will diversify the economic base, helping protect the area from future economic shocks."

In June last year the borough launched its innovative Opportunity Sutton economic growth programme to encourage companies to set up in the borough.

The programme is focusing on seven main areas including lobbying Transport for London to extend the Tramlink to Sutton town centre and to develop a science and research development cluster capitalising on the growth plans of the Institute of Cancer Research.

Councillor Jayne McCoy, sutton council's chair of housing, economy and business committee, said: "The council is absolutely focused on encouraging businesses to come to the borough and bring jobs and growth.

"The programme is badged as Opportunity Sutton and we are very excited to see that it is already bearing fruit. Right now it is still in its infancy, but there is much more to come."