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UK Business: Activity, Size and Location 2011

Released: 05 October 2011 Download PDF

Number of UK Businesses falls by 0.9% in the year to March 2011

Number of UK VAT and/or PAYE based Enterprises 2007-2011
Source: Office for National Statistics

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There were 2.08 million enterprises registered for VAT and/or PAYE in March 2011, compared with 2.10 million in March 2010, a fall of nearly 20,000 (0.9 per cent). 

Between March 2010 and March 2011 there was a reduction in the number of sole proprietors and partnerships, while corporate businesses increased by 0.6 per cent.

  • Corporate businesses (companies and public corporations) represented 59.8 per cent of total enterprises, up 0.9 percentage points from the 58.9 per cent seen in 2010

  • Sole proprietors represented 23.3 per cent of total enterprises, down 0.5 percentage points from 23.8 per cent in 2010

  • Partnerships represented 12.7 per cent of total enterprises, also down 0.5 percentage points from 13.2 per cent in 2010

  • General government and non-profit making bodies represented 4.2 per cent of total enterprises, compared with 4.1 per cent in 2010

The professional, scientific and technical sector accounted for the largest number of businesses with 15.9 per cent of all enterprises registered. This was followed by construction with 12.6 per cent of all enterprises registered, and retail with 9.0 per cent.

The distribution of enterprises by employment size band shows that 88.8 per cent had an employment of less than 10, and 98.0 per cent had less than 50 employment. Large enterprises, those with 250 or greater employment, accounted for only 0.4 per cent of all enterprises.
Analysis by age of business shows that 14.7 per cent of businesses were under two years old, and 27.7 per cent were under four years old. A further 44.5 per cent of businesses were 10 or more years old.

Between 2010 and 2011 all regions except London and Scotland saw a decrease in the number of businesses with the West Midlands and Wales experiencing the greatest decrease of 2.2 per cent each. The number of businesses in Scotland grew by 0.1 per cent. The number of businesses in London increased by 0.9 per cent and was the region that accounted for the largest number of businesses in March 2011, with 16.1 per cent.  The regions with the next largest shares of businesses were the South East and East regions at 15.8 per cent and 10.1 per cent respectively.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Source: Inter Departmental Business Register (IDBR), Office for National Statistics
  2. The contact for this release is Carl Roberts email: carl.roberts@ons.gsi.gov.uk, tel: +44 (0)1633 455169
  3. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

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