HC Deb 10 May 2004 vol 421 c95W
Mr. Pickthall

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses have started up in West Lancashire since 1997. [171725]

Nigel Griffiths

Barclays bank's latest survey of business creation includes non-VAT registered firms and shows that there were 115,000 business start-ups in England and Wales, including 2,600 in Lancashire county (which contains the constituency of West Lancashire), in the fourth quarter of 2003. The latest yearly figures show 465,000 business start-ups in England and Wales in 2003. This represents a 19 per cent. increase on the year before. There were 10,200 business start-ups in Lancashire county in 2003. Data for counties are not available for before 2003.

DTI figures based solely on VAT registrations for West Lancashire local authority (which contains the constituency of West Lancashire) are shown as follows for the period 1997 to 2002. Data for 2003 will be available in autumn 2004.

VAT registrations: 1997–2002
West Lancashire Number
1997 260
1998 245
1999 290
2000 265
2001 285
2002 265
Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994–2002, Small Business Service, available from: www.sbs.gov.uk/statistics/vatstats.php

VAT registrations do not capture all start-up activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that de-register will not necessarily have closed. Only 1.8 million out of 3.8 million enterprises were-registered for VAT at the start of 2002.