One million more small businesses

According to a new report from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the number of private sector businesses in the UK has reached a record high of 5.5 million, a 23 per cent increase on the number in 2010.

The report says that a million more small businesses, 4,000 new medium-sized organisations and 900 new large firms have been created in the past six years, meaning that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) now account for at least 99 per cent of new businesses in the UK.

In addition, the number of firms employing UK workers has continued to rise for the third year running, increasing by 1 per cent. This year there were 1.3 million businesses employing staff and 4.2 million non-employers, meaning that the owner was the sole employee of 76 per cent of businesses.

Because of the rise in self-employment, which is also at a record high, the Government has launched a review to see if employment rules need changing, as well as a consultation on the new role of Small Business Commissioner, to look at how this will operate and handle calls and complaints.

Commenting on the report, a spokesman for the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said it is wonderful that the UK remains such a great place to start a business, and that more firms are making the leap from start-ups to larger concerns.

However, he added that the challenge now, at a time of transition and change, is to ensure that the UK provides the best possible environment in which businesses can invest, recruit and grow.