Small Businesses

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 20th January 2017.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of sole traders operating in the UK in each year since 1990; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Margot James Margot James Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Estimates of the number of sole traders are available from 1996 in the table below. Due to an improvement to the methodology in 2010 there is a break in the series; an estimate for 2009 on the new basis has been provided for information.

Number of sole trader businesses

All – old method 1

All – new method 2

Of which Employers

Of which No employees

1996

2,451,707

330,698

2,121,009

1997

2,470,260

329,865

2,140,395

1998

2,234,915

367,555

1,867,360

1999

2,204,955

358,845

1,846,110

2000

2,226,270

370,580

1,855,690

2001

2,326,530

368,055

1,958,475

2002

2,325,545

369,570

1,955,975

2003

2,522,490

346,145

2,176,345

2004

2,719,410

329,225

2,390,180

2005

2,741,780

321,475

2,420,305

2006

2,816,885

322,100

2,494,785

2007

2,984,755

315,890

2,668,865

2008

3,024,520

306,060

2,718,460

2009

3,089,405

2,801,470

302,125

2,787,280

2010

2,757,200

302,800

2,454,500

2011

2,839,200

294,800

2,544,400

2012

3,026,200

296,500

2,729,600

2013

3,079,200

276,500

2,802,600

2014

3,279,100

279,300

2,999,800

2015

3,335,400

274,300

3,061,200

2016

3,323,900

265,400

3,058,500

1. Source: Small and Medium Enterprises in the UK and Regions

2. Source: Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions

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