Press release

Small business employment up by more than 1.6 million

Latest government figures show that employment by small businesses has increased by 1,618,000 over the last 5 years.


There are over 5 million small businesses in the UK, generating £1.2 trillion for the economy. Since 2010, private sector employment has grown by nearly 2.5 million and small businesses accounted for 65% of this. These figures demonstrate the contribution small businesses have made to the nation’s record employment rate of 73.7%.

Employment Minister Priti Patel, said:

Every day small enterprises run by hardworking people like the local barber or café owner, are helping to create jobs and opportunities for others.

Government is firmly on the side of small businesses. Our New Enterprise Allowance, for example, has helped on average 70 new businesses start every working day. Our welfare reforms and dedicated Jobcentre Plus staff are also giving more people the extra support and flexibility they seek to take up new opportunities that these small businesses are creating as our economy goes from strength to strength.

This news coincides with Small Business Saturday – a campaign that celebrates small enterprises and the role that they play in strengthening local communities and generating economic growth. It culminates today with various public events and visits by members of government to small businesses across the country.

Small Business Minister Anna Soubry, said:

Our 5 million small businesses are the beating heart of our economy, providing millions of people across the country with the security of a job.

I urge everyone to get out there today and support your small businesses, whether that be your local baker, hairdresser, mechanic or independent pub. And of course, your local high street is a great place to start any Christmas shopping.

More information

A ‘small business’ is defined in the Business Population Estimates as having 0 to 49 employees. Those with no employees comprise of sole proprietorships and partnerships comprising only the self-employed owner-manager(s), and companies comprising only an employee director.

Employment figures were taken from the 2015 Business Population Estimates and ONS Labour Market Statistics (LMS).

Read more about Small Business Saturday.

Read more about the New Enterprise Allowance.

Find out more about government support for small businesses.

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Published 5 December 2015