It’s a record . . . thanks to the strength of the SME community

The continuing strength of the small business community has been highlighted yet again as the number of private companies hits record levels.
Latest figures reveal the UK now has a record 5.4 million private sector businesses, an increase of 146,000 since 2014 and 1.9 million more than in 2000.
Small businesses continue to be the bedrock of the UK economy, making up 99.3 per cent of all companies.
The UK’s SMEs employ 15.6 million people, 60 per cent of all private sector employment. The combined annual turnover of SMEs was £1.8 trillion, making up 47 per cent of all private sector turnover in the UK, Business Population Estimates research found.
SMEs make up at least 99 per cent of the businesses in every major industry sector, the research released by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills revealed.
There has also been an increase in the number of medium-sized businesses, those employing between 50 and 249 people. There were 1,000 more of these firms at the start of 2015 than the year before.
Also on the up was the number of businesses employing people. This has grown for the second year running and an increase of 35,000 at the start of the year.
The Business Population Estimates also show there are 7,000 large businesses in the UK that employ over 10 million people with turnover of £2 trillion.
The overall business population includes 3.3 million sole proprietors, 1.6 million companies and 436,000 ordinary partnerships.
Clifton Asset Management chairman Adam Tavener said: “ Whilst the increase in numbers of small business is indeed good news for an entrepreneurial and dynamic economy, it also presents a medium term threat.
“These enterprises represent a huge proportion of GDP and their ability to access funding to prosper, or, candidly, ride out difficult times occasionally, becomes highly significant to the economy as a whole.
“Thus the work the Government has undertaken to rebalance SME finance away from a tiny number of huge banks becomes ever more urgent since as a nation we are, effectively, hostages to the willingness of this small number of banks to lend to higher risk enterprise.”
Business Minister Anna Soubry told Business Matters magazine: “It’s fantastic news there are now a record number of businesses in the UK, creating jobs and ensuring our country’s economic security.
“Our long-term economic plan has helped create the conditions for businesses to start, grow and flourish.
“But with risks in the global economy, this government is determined to continue to back our businesses and grow our economy.”
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