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Small Businesses

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many new businesses were registered in (a) St. Albans and (b) England in each of the last five years. (196186)

VAT registration data provide the only accurate indicator of the level of business start-up activity.

The number of new VAT registrations in St. Albans and England are shown in the following table for 2002 to 2006, alongside data for the stock of all VAT registered businesses. Data for registrations in 2007 will be available in autumn 2008.

Number of VAT registrations and stock of VATregistered businesses in St. Albans and England

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Registrations

St. Albans

540

655

620

620

660

England

155,770

168,250

160,565

158,995

159,315

Stock at start of year

St. Albans

5,715

5,725

5,850

5,940

6,045

6,160

England

1,521,285

1,541,155

1,574,270

1,602,230

1,635,845

1,670,500

Source:

Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994-2006, available at: http://stats.berr.gov.uk/ed/vat

Although the number of new registrations has fluctuated over the period, the total number of VAT registered businesses in St. Albans has increased annually, from 5,715 at the start of 2002 to 6,160 at the start of 2007, an increase of 445 (8 per cent.). For England, in comparison, the total number of VAT registered businesses has increased from 1.52 million to 1.67 million, an increase of 149,000 (10 per cent.).

VAT registrations do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which was £60,000 at the start of 2006. Only 1.9 million out of 4.5 million UK enterprises (43 per cent.) were registered for VAT at the start of 2006.