Number of UK businesses hits record 5.4 million

Small and medium-sized enterprises now generate over £1 trillion for the economy, according to official business population estimates

The UK’s business landscape is booming with a record 5.4 million private sector businesses currently trading – a 146,000 increase on 2014 – according to official figures published by the government today.

The reported 146,000 growth is the net annual change, taking into account all business start-ups, closures, takeovers and mergers, which means that more businesses started this year than closed.

The Business Population Estimates statistics for 2015 has found that small and medium-sized enterprise make up 99.3% of all UK companies and now generate over £1 trillion turnover for the economy.

The data also suggests that there has been an increase in the number of medium-sized businesses in the UK; those employing between 50 and 249 staff, with 1,000 more medium businesses at the start of 2015 than in 2014.

In addition, the findings indicate a rise in sole traders; the overall UK business population now includes 3.3 million sole proprietors (62% of the total), 1.6 million companies (30%), and 436,000 ordinary partnerships (8%).

Discussing the findings, business minister Anna Soubry commented: “It’s fantastic news there are now a record number of businesses in the UK, creating jobs and ensuring our country’s economic security.

“Our long-term economic plan has helped create the conditions for businesses to start, grow and flourish. But with risks in the global economy, this government is determined to continue to back our businesses and grow our economy.”

James Layfield, CEO and co-founder of start-up business Central Working, added:

“Small and medium enterprises are still delivering over half of all private sector employment opportunities. It’s important that we don’t lose sight of this community’s economic contribution as their impact on job and wealth creation cannot be underestimated.”

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