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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/incorporated-companies-in-the-uk-july-to-september-2018/incorporated-companies-in-the-uk-july-to-september-2018
This release provides information about the population of companies in the United Kingdom. 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 document 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 United Kingdom. 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 July and September 2018, there were 164,424 new incorporations and 131,407 dissolutions in the UK. The number of dissolutions has continued to remain consistently high during 2018 so far.
- At the end of September 2018, there were 4,111,057 companies on the total register and 3,843,514 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 third quarter of 2018 than in the same period in 2017.
- Despite seasonal fluctuations, both incorporations and dissolutions have continued to increase since 2012.
2. Incorporated companies
Between July and September 2018, there were 164,424 incorporations and 131,407 dissolutions in the UK. At the end of September 2018, there were 4,111,057 companies on the UK total register – this includes those in the course of dissolution and liquidation (267,543). Compared with April to June 2018, the total register increased by 35,166 companies (0.9%). Increases were seen in all constituent countries: England and Wales increased by 0.9%, Scotland by 0.9% and Northern Ireland by 1.4%.
At the end of September 2018, the number of companies on the effective register – which excludes those in the course of dissolution or liquidation – was 3,843,514. This was an increase of 45,419 companies (1.2%) compared with the end of April 2018.
The total register increased by 149,271 (3.8%) compared with the third quarter of 2017, whilst the effective register increased by 140,379 (3.8%). 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: Total and effective register sizes, 2012Q1-2018Q3, United Kingdom
The number of dissolutions has increased by 1,673 (1.3%) when compared with July to September 2017. Although this is a relatively small increase, the number of dissolutions throughout 2018 have been consistently high
Despite seasonal fluctuations in the data, the number of dissolutions has continued to increase over time: there were 60,139 (84.4%) more dissolutions in the third quarter of 2018 than in the first quarter of 2012.
There were fewer incorporations in the third quarter of 2018 compared with the first and second quarters of the year. This is consistent with previous years, with the exception of 2017. As with dissolutions, the number of incorporations has continued to increase gradually over time, with a peak in 2016. There were 36,222 (28.3%) more incorporations in the third quarter of 2018 than in the first quarter of 2012.
2.2 Chart 2: Incorporations and Dissolutions, 2012Q1-2018Q3, United Kingdom
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
- 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.
A separate document Definitions to accompany statistical releases is available, providing definitions for the main terms used in our official statistics publications.
Information relating to the quality of the statistics is provided in a separate quality document. 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 United Kingdom, 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 are 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
The consultation on the annual official statistics has now closed. The consultation was open from 20 July to 30 September 2018. We will publish the findings and our responses by the end of December 2018.
4.6 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.
4.7 Date of next release
Statistics for the period 1 October to 31 December 2018 will be published on 31 January 2019. The publication date has been announced on the GOV.UK release calendar.