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Starting a business getting even more popular

The overall number of UK businesses has risen by one million since 2010 and has now reached 5.5 million according to official figures for 2016.

The Government's Business Population Estimates show that, at the start of 2016, the UK had a million more small businesses, 4,000 more medium-sized businesses and 900 more large businesses, compared to 2010 - representing a total increase of 23%.


This growth is the net annual change, taking into account all business start-ups, closures, takeovers and mergers. It means more businesses have started than closed. The number of employing businesses has also risen for the third year in a row.


The statistics have been obtained by adding the number of businesses registered for VAT and PAYE to an estimate of the number of unregistered businesses, based on sources including the ONS Labour Force Survey and HMRC.


The findings also highlight the rise in self-employment; the UK business population now has 3.7 million businesses that are run as sole proprietorships or partnerships and 1.8 million companies. In fact, the vast majority (99.3%) of all of these businesses are classed as small businesses.


Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: 

"Our job creators don't always get the praise and respect they deserve but we should be proud of our entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators. The Government is committed to ensuring Britain builds on its success and is the best place to start and grow a business."

Small business minister Margot James has announced the launch of a consultation on the Small Business Commissioner to look at how the new SME representative will operate and how they will handle complaints. Businesses of all sizes are welcome to respond to the consultation.

James said: 

"There are a million more small businesses now than in 2010 and it's important to recognise the great contribution they make to local communities and the national economy."

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