Appetite falls for going it alone

Fewer individuals setting up in business, says data

business-start-upsScotland’s entrepreneurial re-birth has shown signs of faltering with figures showing the number of new sole traders or partnerships falling sharply.

There were 7.6% fewer unregistered or micro businesses in the year to March 2016, down from 191,010 in 2015 to 176,420.

The number of registered businesses increased by 2.1% from 170,335 in 2015 to 173,995 in 2016, its highest level since 2000. But there were 3% fewer private businesses overall at 350,410.

Of the total, 348,045 (99.3%) were classed as Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs.

Unregistered enterprises are micro businesses which consist of only a sole trader or partners. Unregistered enterprises do not employ others and have an annual turnover below the VAT threshold (£82,000 as at March 2016).

The data is contained in the Businesses in Scotland 2016 report compiled by Scotland’s Chief Statistician and comes ahead of a this year’s Entrepreneurial Scotland awards which will be presented at a dinner in Glasgow on Wednesday. 

The report also reveals that the number of jobs in the retail industry in Scotland has fallen over the past year by 1,090 to 252,400 in March 2016, from 253,490 in 2015 and 257,030 in 2014.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Retail remains Scotland’s largest private sector employer but these new figures graphically highlight the impact that profound structural, economic and regulatory change is having on the industry.  

“The cumulative burden of government-imposed tax and regulatory costs has mushroomed and is accelerating the pace of change affecting retail.”

The SRC expects the Apprenticeship Levy to cost retailers in Scotland circa £12 million a year. The doubling of the Large Business Supplement earlier this year affects 7,500 retail premises in Scotland, and its believe this costs retailers in Scotland abvut £15 million a year.

The Businesses in Scotland report is available at:

This publication contains statistics on the number of enterprises (businesses) operating in Scotland. Statistics are provided by industry, business size, local authority area, urban/rural area and country of ownership.

Further information on Business and Enterprise statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked as *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.