How important are small businesses to the UK economy?

In the last ten years in the UK the number of SME’s – ie those with 249 or fewer employees – has grown by 31% whilst the number of big boys has fallen by 12%.

So if you are the Government where do you place the priority for assistance?

‘Not enough data’ I hear you cry.

So what happens if I tell you that – measured in turnover terms – SMEs and large companies in aggregate both have similar turnovers? Does that help? Or would you prefer to know the small end employs 13.8m whilst the bigger brethren are at a slimmer 9.8m workers?

Or, like me, do you think it is totally crazy to lump together as a homogenous whole – companies employing just the proprietor with those having 249 employees on board?


Employees Turnover Employees
Sole proprietor












Over 250



With thanks to the Financial Times for collecting together this data.

In the old days, banks only lent to those people who could prove they didn’t need it. I think now we are returned to those times except that after you have adduced the final piece of evidence to support you not needing the finance, the bank now assists by refusing.

If my cynical take is only part right, then the only place Government can hope to make a difference is at the bottom of the pile. No, not the bottom of my table – the bottom of the pile, where the poor oppressed sole proprietor or under-resourced start-up team can be found.

We are in a mess. However you now label the current state of the nation, there is a big issue and it’s not going away any time soon. So how about a real cabinet reshuffle? How about creating new ministers for things that matter going forward from here? Surely today, a minister for small business (and I’m thinking 0-10 size) is more useful at the top table than a Defence Minister?  We’ve got minsters too for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and each of those has its own assemblies – but why not a ‘Backing Britain Minister’ instead of those three – saving cost and flying the flag for things made and grown in Britain.

I could go, but I guess blogs are not books?

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