New ONS figures report 89,000 new businesses were created this year, marking a 3.8 per cent increase. There were 2.45m firms for 2015.
To be counted as a business by ONS, a firm has to have VAT or PAYE systems.
The update also reflected the dominance of the capital – home to almost a fifth of the UK’s firms. Some 18.2 per cent of Britain’s businesses were based in London in March 2015, growing from 17.1 per cent in 2013.
This was more than the total number of firms in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the North East of England combined. The South East had the second highest number with 15.4 per cent of businesses based there – compared to 2.7 per cent in Northern Ireland and North East England, the equivalent of around 66,000 firms.
Law firm Irwin Mitchell and think-tank Centre for Economic & Business Research recently released a report warning that the government’s wealth-spreading agenda of the “Northern Powerhouse” needed to be improved if rebalancing the UK economy was to be successful.
Using a city-by-city measurement of current and projected economic strength, it found the gap between London and the North of England was set to grow – with the capital’s economy predicted to be up 27 per cent by 2025 to just under £450bn, with the combined rate of growth across the North West, North East and Yorkshire & Humber expected to be just over 14 per cent. Output in those regions would be some £110bn lower than London’s in ten years’ time.
The new figures from ONS show that while all regions of the UK saw the number of businesses grow between 2013 and 2015, some saw considerably greater increases than others.
London’s increase was the greatest, with nearly 29,000 new businesses – up 6.9 per cent since 2014, which accounted for 32.1 per cent of the country’s whole growth. While the capital and South East have the largest populations of the UK regions, they also have the largest number of firms as a proportion of the population.
Elsewhere, Northern Ireland’s numbers didn’t change, with 67,000 businesses between 2013 and 2015. Scotland and the South West grew by 6.3 per cent.
The largest industry group for was professional, scientific and technical services, accounting for 17.8 per cent of all registered businesses in the UK compared with 17.3 per cent in 2014. This was followed by construction and the retail and repair of motor vehicles as the next two biggest sectors, with 11.6 per cent and 15 per cent of total businesses.
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