SMEs accounted for 60% of private sector employment
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has estimated that small and medium-sized businesses in the UK accounted for 60 per cent of employment in the private sector in the past year.
The figures showed that the number of SMEs in the UK has hit a record high of 5.7 million, up by 200,000 from last year and an increase of 2.2 million since the start of the millennium.
The data showed that SMEs also accounted for 99.9 per cent of businesses and have generated a combined annual turnover of £1.9 trillion, more than 50 per cent of the combined turnover generated by private sector businesses.
The figures were released ahead of Small Business Saturday, which took place at the weekend. The event, which is now in its fifth year, offers communities the opportunity to show their support and celebrate the UK’s small businesses.
Separate research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) highlighted the success of Small Business Saturday, with consumers spending £717 million with small UK businesses at the event in 2016, up by 15 per cent from the previous year.
Commenting on the figures from the BEIS, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said that they showed that the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit was not easily shaken.
“Despite rising costs and flagging consumer demand, we still have ever more people taking the brave and exciting step of starting a small business,” he said.