By Lynne Gowers on 30th January 2017

Non-employing businesses dominate the UK private sector

small business

Non-employing businesses and small employers are dominating the UK private sector – there are now 5.5 million such businesses – that’s over 99% of the business population.

Such are the findings of a report* commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, showing that small business is well and truly booming in the 21st century.

Rise and rise of the non-employing business

Since the turn of the millennium, growth in the UK private sector business population has been mainly due to increasing numbers of non-employing businesses –  including contractors, freelancers, sole traders and locums.

Over that period, non-employing businesses have accounted for 89% of the overall business population growth.

There are 1.8 million more non-employing businesses in the UK public sector than there were in 2000; they now make up 76% of all private sector businesses.

Illuminating statistics on SMEs

Widening the net to include SMEs, at the start of 2016 there were 5.5 million small businesses (0-49 employees), making up 99.3% of the total business population.

15.7 million people were employed by SMEs, accounting for 60% of the private sector workforce.

The combined annual turnover of SMEs was £1.8 trillion – 47% of all private sector turnover in the UK.

Supporting small business

With non-employment businesses and SMEs accounting for over 99% of private sector businesses in each of the main industry sectors, small businesses are the engine-room of the modern UK economy. So who oils the engine?

Talk to us about our SME services

Whether you are a one-man band or employ a team we have the ideal accounting solution to help your business grow. With Boox you are guaranteed cutting edge accounting technology backed up with a personal service from our team of client accountants.

Call us on 0208 168 0422 or find out more about our SME services here.


 *For the full statistical release published in October 2016 by National Statistics for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, click here

Lynne Gowers Written by Lynne Gowers

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