SMEs make up 99.3% of all UK businesses

12th January 2016

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country now total 99.3 per cent of all businesses operating in the UK, according to official figures.

New data from the Department for Business revealed there were 5,389,450 firms in operation across the UK at the beginning of last year, which is an increase of 146,000 businesses since the start of 2014 and 1.9 million more since the turn of the millennium.

Of the 5,389,450 businesses in operation in the UK in 2015, 5,349,930 were small firms employing between 0 and 49 staff – 99.3 per cent of the entire British business community.

The number of businesses employing staff grew by three per cent in the last year, but as to did the number of firms with no employees. This means that there are now 4,077,590 micro firms operating with no staff aside from the owner, accounting for more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of all companies.

Total employment by SMEs was 15.6 million, comprising 60 per cent of all UK private sector employment; while the combined annual turnover of SMEs amounted to £1.8 trillion, almost half (47 per cent) of all private sector turnover.

In terms of location-specific data, London (976,000) and the south-east of England (878,000) has significantly more businesses than any other UK country or region of England. The region of England home to the least number of companies is the north-east (136,000).

Business minister, Anna Soubry, labelled the new figures “fantastic news”, adding that new businesses were creating jobs and ensuring economic security for the UK.

“Our long-term economic plan has helped create the conditions for businesses to start, grow and flourish,” said Soubry.

“But with risks in the global economy, this government is determined to continue to back our businesses and grow our economy.”

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