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Small business population rises to 5.7m

› Small business population rises to 5.7m

SMEs accounted for 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK at the start of 2017, according to government figures.

Annual statistics from the Department for Business, Industry, Energy and Strategy showed there were 5.7 million private sector businesses - up 197,000 on the same time in 2016.

Small businesses alone accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the turn of the year, with that figure rising to 99.9% when factoring in medium-sized firms.

SMEs contributed £1.9 trillion to the economy in combined annual turnover last year, accounting for 51% of all private sector turnover in 2017.

60% of the UK business population is made up of sole traders, while 33% are companies and 7% are partnerships.

Margot James, minister for small business, said:

"The UK now has nearly 200,000 more small businesses since last year - meaning more jobs, more opportunities and more choice.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and our Industrial Strategy is building an environment in which they can continue to thrive."

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