The number of businesses in Britain has reached another record high and companies with no staff have once again seen a big increase.
Official government figures show there 5,694,515 businesses in the UK at the start of 2017, an increase of 197,000 since 2016, and 2.2 million more than in 2000.
A total of 4,327,680 firms have no staff, an increase of 155,000, meaning that 76% of companies do not employ anyone aside from the owner.
Last year the number of businesses increased by 97,000 with non-employing companies rising by 84,000 so this year's statistics are a significant hike.
Small businesses account for 99.3% of all private sector businesses, 1,117,810 of which are micro-companies with between one and nine employees A total of 99.9% are small or medium-sized.
Total employment in SMEs is 16.1m, 60% of all private sector employment in the UK. The combined annual turnover amounts to £1.9 trillion, 51% of all private sector turnover.
Contribution of different sized businesses to total population, employment, and turnover, at start of 2017:
Estimated number of businesses in the UK private sector and associated employment and turnover, by
UK private sector business population, 2000 to 2017:
Growth in the number of UK private sector businesses by size band, 2000 to 2017 (index: base year=2000):