© Crown copyright 2017
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: email@example.com.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/incorporated-companies-in-the-uk-october-to-december-2016/incorporated-companies-in-the-uk-october-to-december-2016
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.
This is the second quarterly release of Incorporated Companies in the UK. The statistics moved to being published quarterly instead of on a monthly basis following the outcomes of the Consultation on Companies House official statistics that ran in 2016.
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 the release. The supplementary tables also contain separate figures for public companies and limited liability partnerships.
2. Key points
- In the United Kingdom between 1 October and 31 December 2016, there were 146,987 company incorporations and 111,133 dissolutions.
- At the end of the period, there were 3,833,469 companies on the total register, and 3,593,602 companies on the effective register.
- Both the total and effective registers have continued to increase in size since the beginning of 2012.
- Despite seasonal trends, the numbers of incorporations and dissolutions have also increased overall since 2012. There was a sharp increase in the number of companies dissolved during 2016, due to legislative changes introduced in October 2015.
3. Incorporated companies
In the United Kingdom in the three months 1 October to 31 December 2016, there were 146,987 company incorporations and 111,133 dissolutions. At the end of the period, the number of companies on the total register – including those in the process of dissolution or liquidation (239,867) – reached 3,833,469.
This was an increase of 37,787 companies compared to 30 September 2016. This change was largely driven by an increase of 35,556 companies in England and Wales, with changes in Northern Ireland and Scotland adding 2,231 companies.
The effective register, which excludes companies in the process of liquidation or dissolution, stood at 3,593,602 on 31 December 2016, an increase of 45,088 companies since 30 September 2016.
Compared with the same period in 2015, the United Kingdom total register increased by 194,180 companies (5.3%), while the effective register increased by 233,854 companies (7.0%). Both the total and effective registers have continued to increase in size in a linear fashion since the beginning of 2012.
3.1 Chart 1: Total and effective register sizes, 2012q1-2016q4, United Kingdom
Source: Incorporated Companies in the UK October to December 2016, Companies House
There were 8,185 (5.9%) more incorporations in October to December 2016 than in the same period in 2015, and 20,696 (22.9%) more dissolutions. This large increase in the number of dissolutions is due to legislative changes implemented in October 2015. These changes shortened both the voluntary and compulsory dissolution processes by one month. The number of dissolutions increased sharply in the first quarter of 2016. Despite decreasing for the remainder of 2016, the number of dissolutions then remained higher throughout the year than in previous years.
These legislative changes have also served to reduce the number of companies in the course of removal from the register: 152,108 companies were in the course of removal at the end of 2016, compared with 197,143 companies at the end of 2015.
Since 2012, the number of incorporations has been higher in the first two quarters of the year than in the last two quarters. Despite these seasonal patterns, the number of incorporations has continued to gradually increase overall: there were 18,785 (14.7%) more incorporations in the final quarter of 2016 than in the first quarter of 2012.
3.2 Chart 2: Incorporations and dissolutions, 2012q1-2016q4, United Kingdom
Source: Incorporated Companies in the UK October to December 2016, Companies House
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 at the quarterly and the yearly level for the years 2011 to 2016.
4. 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 are provided at the individual country level and for the UK as a whole. The tables cover the following:
- Register activity for public companies
- Register activity for limited liability partnerships (LLPs)
- Company insolvencies and liquidations
- Removals from the register
5. 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 Companies House 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 Companies House’s 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.
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.
5.4 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.
5.5 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 corrigendum 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.
Revisions in this release: No revisions.
Planned revisions: No planned revisions.
5.6 Date of next release
Statistics for the period 1 January to 31 March 2017 will be published on 27 April 2017. The publication date has been announced on the gov.uk release calendar.