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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/incorporated-companies-in-the-uk-january-to-march-2019/incorporated-companies-in-the-uk-january-to-march-2019
This release provides information about the population of companies in the UK. A company is defined as a specific legal form of business formed under the Companies Act 2006. Companies are registered at Companies House regardless of whether they go on to trade actively.
Further information on companies and the Companies Act 2006 is provided in the Definitions to accompany statistical releases.
The statistics in this release include the total number of incorporated companies, the number of newly incorporated companies and the number of companies that were dissolved. The release focusses on the headline messages for the UK. Figures for the constituent countries are contained in the supplementary tables that accompany this release. The supplementary tables also contain separate figures for public companies and limited liability partnerships.
1.1 Key points
Between January and March 2019, there were 182,742 new incorporations and 142,390 dissolutions in the UK. These are the highest levels since 2011.
At the end of March 2019, there were 4,202,044 companies on the total register and 3,926,374 on the effective register. Both the total and effective registers continue to increase in size at a steady rate, although this has slowed in recent years.
Consistent with trends in previous years, there were more incorporations in the first quarter of 2019 than in the same period in 2018.
Despite seasonal fluctuations, both incorporations and dissolutions have continued to increase since 2012.
2. Incorporated companies
Between January and March 2019, there were 182,742 incorporations and 142,390 dissolutions in the UK. At the end of March 2019, there were 4,202,044 companies on the UK total register – this includes those in the course of dissolution and liquidation (275,670). Compared with the end of December 2018, the total register increased by 42,578 companies (1.0%). Increases were seen in all constituent countries: England and Wales increased by 1.0%, Scotland by 1.0% and Northern Ireland by 1.6%.
Compared with the end of March 2018, the total register increased by 168,689 companies (4.2%). England and Wales increased by 156,395 (4.2%), Scotland increased by 8,551 (4.1%) and Northern Ireland increased by 3,743 (6.4%).
At the end of March 2019, the number of companies on the effective register – which excludes those in the course of dissolution or liquidation – was 3,926,374. This was an increase of 46,530 companies (1.2%) compared with the end of December 2018.
The total register increased by 168,689 companies (4.1%) compared with the first quarter of 2018, whilst the effective register increased by 156,352 (4.0%). Both the total and effective registers have increased in a linear fashion since 2012, albeit at a slower growth rate in recent years.
2.1 Chart 1: UK total and effective register sizes, 2012 Q1 to 2019 Q1
During the first quarter of 2019, the number of dissolutions has increased by 12,702 (9.8%) when compared with January to March 2018. Despite seasonal fluctuations, the number of dissolutions has continued to increase over time, almost doubling in size between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2019. There were 71,122 more dissolutions in the first quarter of 2019 than in the first quarter of 2012.
The number of incorporations in the first quarter of 2019 was higher than those seen in the first quarter of 2018; this is consistent with previous years. As with dissolutions, the number of incorporations has continued to increase gradually over time. There were 54,540 (42.5%) more incorporations in the first quarter of 2019 than in the first quarter of 2012.
Although the size of the register has continued to increase at a steady rate over time, the number of incorporations and dissolutions were noticeably higher during the first quarter of 2019.
Over the last 4 years, the proportion of incorporations compared with the total number of companies on the register during the first quarter of each year have ranged between 4.2% and 4.7%. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, the proportion was 4.39%, which falls within this range. Similarly, the proportion of dissolutions compared with the total number of companies on the register during the first quarter of each year ranged from 2.8% to 3.6%. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, this proportion was 3.4%, also falling within range.
2.2 Chart 2: UK incorporations and dissolutions, 2012 Q1 to 2019 Q1
A full breakdown of figures for England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole is provided in the Excel workbook that accompanies this release. Figures are provided both on a quarterly and annual basis since 2011.
3. Other statistics in this release
In addition to the tables covering register activity for all companies, a range of other statistics are included in the tables that accompany this release. These tables provide information at the individual country level and for the UK as a whole.
The tables cover:
- the register activity for public companies
- the register activity for limited liability partnerships (LLPs)
- company insolvencies and liquidations
- removals from the register
4. Background notes
This section provides a range of information designed to provide the user with more information about the statistics.
Definitions to accompany statistical releases are available, providing definitions for the main terms used in our official statistics publications.
A separate document is available with information about the quality of our statistics. This document provides information on the quality of our official statistics, to enable users to judge whether or not the data are of sufficient quality for their intended use.
The information is structured in terms of the quality dimensions of the European Statistical System. The document also provides information on how these statistics relate to selected other business statistics.
This release provides information on the size of the company population and the changes that have occurred within the quarter. The release includes statistics for the UK, England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.
The statistics cover companies, which are specific legal forms of businesses that are registered at Companies House. They do not include information on sole proprietorship businesses, partnerships, and charities.
4.4 Use and users
Companies House statistics are used extensively by government, the public, public bodies and businesses. For example, they’re used by:
- government in understanding the likely impact of policy changes and monitoring the impact of economic changes on companies
- businesses in understanding their market share and planning marketing strategies
- banks in developing an understanding of their customer base
- foreign firms in making UK location decisions
- academics to inform research into businesses at local and national level
- a range of public bodies in decision making and evaluating business-related policies
Our consultation on the annual official statistics has now closed and the results of our consultation have been published.
5.1 Revisions to these statistics
Revisions to these statistics will be mainly due to changes in methodologies and source data. The statistics are derived from administrative data, and changes to the underlying methods will cause revisions. These include changes in statistical methods, definitions, classifications, and geographic coverage.
Although Companies House has robust procedures in place to minimise errors in the methods used to create these statistics, errors may occasionally occur. If errors are found after the publication, their impact will be assessed. If the changes are significant, a correction will be issued as soon as possible. Minor corrections will be included in the next planned release.
Any misleading or incorrect figures will be amended and a footnote added to indicate that the figures have been corrected. The nature and reason for the correction will be explained.
5.2 Date of next release
Statistics for the period 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2019 will be published on 25 July 2019. The publication date has been announced on the GOV.UK release calendar.