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Record number of businesses in the UK

The number of private sector businesses in the UK reached a record 4.9 million at the start of 2013, figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown. 

Over 100,000 of these businesses launched in 2012/13.

Key figures show that:

  • small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 99.9 per cent of private sector businesses 
  • SMEs collectively employ 14.4 million people 
  • SMEs have a combined turnover of almost £1,600 billion - accounting for 48.1 per cent of the UKs private business turnover of £3,300 billion
  • 75.3 per cent of private sector businesses do not employ anyone apart from the business owners.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Today's figures are a timely reminder of the number of people willing to try their hand at business. They also show an encouraging regional story with the figures for the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber particularly positive."

Commenting on the figures, the Government reiterated that SMEs are vital for job creation and supporting the economic recovery in the UK.

Enterprise minister, Matt Hancock, said there was 'much more to do.'

From April 2014, businesses will receive a £2,000 Employment Allowance to reduce their National Insurance contributions (NICs) bill. The allowance will effectively remove 450,000 small businesses from paying employer NICs.