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Number of UK businesses hits record high

The number of businesses in the UK stood at a record high at the start of 2012, official figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have revealed.

The statistics show an increase of 300,000 businesses compared with the 4.5 million recorded at the start of 2011. Of the 4.8 million private sector businesses in operation at the beginning of 2012, 99.9 per cent of them were small and medium sized enterprises.

According to the data, SMEs account for 59.2 per cent of private sector employment and 48.8 per cent of private sector turnover. Commenting on the figures, Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

"Today's figures show that we now have a record number of private sector businesses in the UK. We have always said that private sector is central to healing and rebalancing our economy and this increase is another encouraging sign.

"We know that our entrepreneurs drive growth, so we will continue to do everything we can to help unleash and unlock entrepreneurs' potential. The additional tax relief for angel investment, reforms to employment law, investment in business mentoring and further cuts in red tape are just some of the actions government is taking to create a better business environment."