LANCASHIRE has more than 70,000 companies in the county for the first time, new figures have shown.

And Blackburn with Darwen has the third-highest number per borough, with 7,051.

Preston leads the way with 8,768, followed by Fylde with 7,708.

At the end of June some 70,214 businesses were registered, according to company secretarial software specialist Inform Direct.

The lists were based on statistics from Companies House and the Office of National Statistics.

These positive figures follow on from Lancashire enjoying a record year for new business in 2016, when 10,600 were registered in the county compared to 10,080 in 2015.

This represents an increase of 4.6 per cent in the total number of companies at the end of 2016 – 68,241 versus 65,240 at the end of 2015.

John Korchak, director of operations at Inform Direct, said: “This shows that it offers a positive environment for business – both in terms of new start-ups and existing companies.”