The number of companies registered and operational throughout the UK has pushed through the four million milestone for the first time ever, according to data compiled from Companies House and the Office of National Statistics (ONS) by Inform Direct.
At the end of February 2017, there was reportedly 4,005,093 companies registered in the UK, with London leading the way with 1,082,600 based within the English capital.
In England, beyond the capital’s borders, the highest concentration of businesses are found in Greater Manchester (171,065), West Midlands (158,305) and Essex (113,225).
Elsewhere in the UK, Scotland is now home to 228,631 companies, Wales is home to 106,636 and Northern Ireland is also home to 55,889.
According to the statistics, a record number of companies were formed within a 12-month period in 2016, with 664,720 new company formations in the UK.
John Korchak, Director of Operations, Inform Direct, said: “These figures underline the positive entrepreneurial culture in the UK, with small business continuing to drive economic growth.
“So far, at least, we’re not seeing evidence that the EU referendum vote has dented confidence among those considering starting up in business.
“This is all positive news but looking ahead, the outlook remains uncertain.
“Measures seen to target the small business community – like the National Insurance increases for the self-employed or higher taxes on dividends received by owner managers outlined in the Spring Budget – will do little to ease fears for the coming years.”
In addition, further research over the last four years for the Zurich SME (small and medium enterprise) Risk Index has found that overall business risk for the UK’s small businesses declined by 18% since October 2012.
Business risk for small businesses sits at 36.72 points, compared with the all-time high figure of 44.55 points in early 2013. That decline of business risk for small business owners comes in spite of operating within a period of political turbulence.