The excel sheet attached to this briefing paper provides business numbers by Parliamentary constituency, including by size and industry.

Businesses by size

As of 1 January 2022, there were 5.5 million private sector businesses in the UK, 1.5% fewer than in 2021. This was smaller than the 6.5% drop between 2020 and 2021, which was the largest fall in the business population since the series began in 2000. The fall was largely driven by very small businesses with no employees, the largest category of UK businesses. 

74% of UK businesses had no employees in 2022. Over 99% of businesses are small or medium-sized businesses (SMEs), employing 0-249 people. SMEs accounted for 61% of UK employment and 7% of business turnover.

There were around 8,000 large businesses in January 2022 (with 250 or more employees). While representing just 0.1% of the business population, these business support 39% of jobs and nearly half of all business turnover.


Businesses by location

In 2022, there were 1.0 million businesses in London, the most of any region or country in the UK. Combined, London and the South East of England accounted for just over a third of UK businesses.#

The excel sheet attached to this briefing paper provides business numbers by Parliamentary constituency.

Businesses by sector

Service industries accounted for 76% of businesses, 80% of employment and 72% of turnover. The retail industry accounted for 35% of business turnover, but only 10% of the businesses population. The manufacturing sector accounted for 4% of businesses, 9% of employment and 14% of turnover.

Women in business

In 2021, 19% of SMEs employers were led by women. 20% of SMEs with no employees were led by women.

In February 2022, 39.1% of FTSE 100 directorships were occupied by women. There were no all-male boards in the FTSE100. 36.8% FTSE250 directorships and 37.6% of FTSE350 directorships were held by women.

Minority ethnic led businesses

In 2021, 6% of SME employers were minority ethnic group (MEG) led. 5% of SMEs with no employees were MEG-led.

94 FTSE 100 companies had at least one director from a minority ethnic background as of May 2022, compared to 74 in November 2020. Of the 1,056 board positions on FTSE 100 companies in December 2021, 155 (15%) were held by minority ethnic directors. Of these 155 minority ethnic directors, 76 (49%) were women.

Further reading

Section 8 of this briefing includes further resources on business diversity.

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