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Business enterprises in the UK - statistics & facts

Approximately 5.87 million private businesses are currently in operation in the United Kingdom, around 2.4 million more than there were at the turn of the century when there were 3.47 million. Taken as whole, the private sector employs around 27.5 million people and had a combined turnover of over 4.14 trillion British pounds. London was the UK region with the highest number of businesses, at almost 1.1 million, and was also the city with the highest start-up rate, at 105 start-ups per 10 thousand population. Among UK-based companies, British Petroleum had, by some distance, the highest revenue at 303.74 billion British pounds, with HSBC and Tesco having the second and third highest revenue respectively.

Large companies and SMEs

Although there are only around 3.7 thousand large companies, that employ 500 or more people, in the UK, these particular companies are responsible for a huge share of employment and turnover. Out of 27.5 million private sector employees, 9.5 million are employed by large companies, and taken together, these companies also had a turnover of over 1.7 trillion British pounds. Nevertheless, there are certainly far more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK than there are large ones, with SMEs numbering around 5.86 million in 2019. In the same year, UK SMEs employed over 10 million people and had a turnover of 2.18 trillion British pounds.

The business environment

The economic climate of 2020 has been dominated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which first came to UK shores at the end of January. In response to the public health crisis which engulfed the UK in the spring, a major lockdown was enforced, resulting in the economy grinding to a halt. The UK's gross domestic product fell by 20 percent in April, with the business confidence index (BCI) also sharply falling in response. Although the affect on the labor market is expected to be significant, the full picture is unclear, as the government is currently, paying the wages of over 9.6 million furloughed jobs under the job retention scheme.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Businesses in the UK".

Business enterprises in the UK

Dossier on the topic

All important statistics are prepared by our experts – available for direct download as PPT & PDF!

Important key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Businesses in the UK" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Businesses population

Business environment


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