HC Deb 18 July 1984 vol 64 cc220-1W
Mr. Batiste

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list separately for each of the last 10 years (a) the total number of business enterprises in Great Britain, (b) the number of business start-ups, (c) the number of insolvencies, and (d) the proportion which (b) and (c) each bear to (a).

Mr. Fletcher

Complete estimates of the number of business enterprises and business start-ups are not available. However, statistics are available from the records of United Kingdom businesses registered for value added tax. An article published inBritish Business on 18 May described the VAT registration data and the points to note when using it. The most important qualification is that not all businesses are registered for VAT with the main exclusions being (a) small busnesses with taxable turnover less than a certain limit—£5,000 per annum when VAT was introduced in 1973 but since increased from time to time to a current level of £18,700 per annum—do not have to register; (b) businesses which make only exempt supplies cannot be registered for VAT—exempt supplies include, for example, insurance, undertaking and property. The number of businesses registering for VAT is, in particular, significantly affected by the periodic increases in the registration threshold.

Figures for insolvencies are given for both the United Kingdom and Great Britain but only from 1977 because earlier figures are not comparable due to substantial increases in the monetary limits in bankruptcy proceedings and deposits on petitions made in December 1976. The figures include both company liquidations and business bankruptcies. Company liquidations include both compulsory and creditors' voluntary liquidations. The business bankruptcy figures, which are partly estimated for Scotland and Northern Ireland, are based on receiving orders made during the year, less those consolidated or rescinded before the end of the year together with administration orders and deeds of arrangement on the same basis. It would not be appropriate to express the number of insolvencies as a proportion of the number of businesses registered for VAT because of the different coverages of the series.

Thousands of UK businesses registered for VAT at end of year Thousands of UK businesses registering for VAT during year Col. 2 as percentage of col. 1 Number of insolvencies affecting businesses
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
1974 1,158 148 12.8
1975 1,203 161 13.4
1976 1,225 169 13.8
1977 1,248 157 12.6 9,345 9,284
1978 1,247 149 11.9 8,315 8,242
1979 1,241 171 13.8 7,375 7,322
1980 1,304 158 12.1 10,183 10,097
1981 1,336 151 11.3 12,876 12,749
1982 1,359 163 12.0 16,935 16,786
1983 1,406 168 11.9 19,324 19,163