25 October 2013 by Alexandra Jones
The number of private sector businesses in the UK has hit a record 4.9 million, an increase of 102,000 compared to last year, according to the latest official government figures.
The latest rise is primarily driven by an increase of smaller, non-employing businesses, which employ fewer than 250 people and make up 99% of the total number. Those employing fewer than 50 employees make up nearly half of all businesses and account for a third of private sector turnover. It should be noted that the number of employing businesses did fall.
The figures also show that UK private sector businesses turnover £3,300 billion and employ an estimated 24.3 million people. SMEs contribute £1,600 billion to the total, accounting for 48.1% of turnover, and employing 14.4 million people, making up 59.3% of private sector employment.
Peter Swabey, Policy & Research Director at ICSA, commented that the report demonstrated the continuing ‘steady growth of the UK business population since the report was first produced in 2000, with 2013 encouragingly showing the steepest increase to date.’
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: ‘Today’s figures are a timely reminder of the number of people willing to try their hand at business’.
But Enterprise Minister, Matt Hancock, believes there is much more to do, in particular making it easier for businesses to employ people and create jobs.
He added: ‘From next April, businesses will receive a £2,000 Employment Allowance discount off their National Insurance bill, effectively removing the tax on jobs for around 450,000 small businesses.’