THE number of business start-ups in Scotland increased by around 10 per cent in the third quarter as the recovery in the construction and housing markets encouraged people to launch businesses.

Figures compiled by the Committee of Scottish Bankers show there were 2,990 start ups in the three months to September up 9.6 per cent, up 262, 9.6 per cent on the 2,728 recorded in the same period last year.

The totals represent the number of new firms opening accounts with

Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, TSB Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

They do not include figures for other banks such as HSBC and Barclays.

The number of start ups fell by 5.3 per cent, 169, from 3,159 in the second quarter on this year. That was in line with the seasonal trend seen in the preceding three years.

The rise in start ups compared with last year was driven by strong growth in the number of new construction firms, to 378 from 287.

The number of new businesses in the real estate and renting sectors and related areas rose to 852 from 745.

This suggests people are being encouraged to start firms by the strength of the recovery in the construction sector and the housing market from the downturn that followed the financial crisis of 2008.

The number of company start-ups jumped around 20 per cent, to 1,779 in the latest quarter from 1,494 in the same period last time.

By contrast the number of sole traders fell four per cent, to 1,047 from 1,088.

The labour market has been in good shape in Scotland in recent months.

Sole trader start up numbers have increased during periods when people have found it harder to get jobs.

Official figures released last month suggested recent growth in business numbers in Scotland has been driven by a rise in the number of people starting businesses as sole traders.

The number of businesses in Scotland were found to have risen to a record high of 361,345 in March, up by around 50 per cent, 121,375, since 2000.

By far the biggest rise in year to this March was among small traders not registered for VAT and PAYE. The number of such businesses rose by 13.2 per cent between March 2014 and March 2015, to 191,010 businesses.