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Record number of private businesses in the UK

October 17, 2012

Figures released by the Department of BIS today show that there are now more private sector businesses in the UK than ever before – 4.8 million of them at the start of the year.

The economic downturn appears to have resulted in a surge of entrepreneurial activity, with the today number of private businesses up by 300,000 since the start of 2011.

The statistics once again demonstrate how SMEs form the backbone to the UK economy – in fact, 99.9% of all businesses are defined as ‘small or medium’ sized.

SMEs also account for just under 49% of all private sector turnover, and almost 60% of total employments in the country – that’s equivalent to £3.1bn in turnover and 23.9 employees.

Interestingly, 99.2% of businesses are defined as ‘small’ (49 employees or less), 0.6% are ‘medium’ (50-249 employees), and just 0.1% or all businesses are ‘large’.

At the start of 2012, there were approximately 3 million sole traderships in the UK, 448,000 partnerships, and 1.3m limited companies.

Commenting on the latest figures, the recently appointed business minister, Michael Fallon,  said that the grown in private sector numbers was a good sign that the economy is being rebalanced away from reliance on public sector employment:

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

“We know that our entrepreneurs drive growth, so we will continue to do everything we can to help unleash and unlock entrepreneurs’ potential. The additional tax relief for angel investment, reforms to employment law, investment in business mentoring and further cuts in red tape are just some of the actions government is taking to create a better business environment.”