You are currently viewing North East business numbers stay steady through Covid
Business meeting. Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

North East business numbers stay steady through Covid

The number of businesses in the North East, as in most other UK regions, has remained virtually unchanged during the Covid years.

Figures published today (Table 1) by the Office for National Statistics show 73,000 business in the region in 2022, the same as in 2021 and 2,000 more than in 2020. The region’s percentage of the national total remained unchanged on 2.6%.

No region showed a percentage increase or decrease of more than 0.1% over the three years apart from the South East, which saw a fall from 15.2% to 14.9% of the national share, representing a loss of 5,000 businesses, and Scotland, where there was a reduction of 0.2%, representing 4,000 lost businesses.

The ONS comments: ‘The distribution of businesses across regions is fairly stable over this period.’

Table 1: Number of VAT and/or PAYE based businesses by region, UK, 2020-2022
Count given to the nearest thousand
  2020 % 2021 % 2022 %
North East 71 2.6 73 2.6 73 2.6
North West 267 9.7 271 9.8 271 9.8
Yorkshire & Humber 189 6.9 192 6.9 193 7.0
East Midlands 184 6.7 189 6.8 189 6.8
West Midlands 222 8.1 219 7.9 222 8.0
East 271 9.9 271 9.8 273 9.9
London 531 19.3 535 19.3 536 19.4
South East 418 15.2 420 15.2 413 14.9
South West 236 8.6 237 8.6 238 8.6
Wales 106 3.8 107 3.9 108 3.9
Scotland 178 6.5 175 6.3 174 6.3
Northern Ireland 75 2.7 77 2.8 78 2.8
TOTAL 2,750 100  2,765 100  2,768 100
Source: Office for National Statistics – Inter-Departmental Business Register

Overall, says the ONS, the number of businesses in the UK as of March 2022 was 2.768 million, a small increase of 0.1% from 2.765 million in March 2021.

‘The business population has remained fairly steady over the last two years, while GDP fell sharply, year-on-year into the first quarter of 2021, then rose sharply into the first quarter of 2022.

‘It appears that the end of business support schemes did not lead to a fall in the business population. Overall, the growth in the population has slowed since 2018 compared with the 2012 to 2018 time period. This is consistent with a general fall in business dynamism since the financial crisis of 2007 to 2008.’

The number of companies and public corporations, says the ONS, has continued to rise and represents 74.4% of total UK businesses, while the proportion of sole proprietors and partnerships has fallen to 22.0%. The largest industry group is still professional, scientific, and technical, making up 15.6% of all registered businesses in the UK; this is down 0.8 percentage points from March last year.