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Scottish Annual Business Statistics

The information below relates to the Scottish Annual Business Statistics publication. The aim of this note is to summarise key features of the publication and its use.


This information is also available in PDF format.

Data Sources, Suitability and Uses


Scottish Annual Business Statistics (SABS) provides data mainly on the Production (including Manufacturing), Construction and Service Sectors in Scotland. The Tables include information on businesses' employment, turnover, purchases, approximate gross value added and labour costs. Data are classified according to industry group, geographical area and ownership. All figures are at current prices unless otherwise stated.

Tables can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Business/SABS


Scottish Annual Business Statistics (SABS) is based on data from the UK Annual Business Survey (ABS), formerly the Annual Business Inquiry (ABI), conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Since 1998, the Scottish Government has funded an enhanced ABS sample in Scotland, to improve the quality of Scottish figures. In 2016, around 2,600 extra firms in Scotland were sampled as a result of this "boost", giving a total sample size in Scotland of around 8,200 firms

The statistics have been produced under partnership procedures agreed between ONS and the Scottish Government (SG). These have resulted in an improvement in the quality of the underlying data and consistency in the figures used by ONS and SG.

For more information on the methodology used to compile regional ABS statistics, please look under Regional Estimation in the Methodology section of the website.


The Scottish Annual Business Statistics (SABS) publication is used to obtain information (predominantly GVA and turnover estimates) about particular sectors of the economy both at national and local authority level to inform decision making, analyse trends and in performance monitoring. Users also combine the Scottish Annual Business Statistics data with other sources in their own models. Some uses of the SABS data are as follows:

A range of statistics from the SABS publication broken down by industry sector are used to monitor change within the growth sectors (covering Food & Drink, Creative Industries, Sustainable Tourism, Energy, Financial & Business Services and Life Sciences) of the Scottish economy. The Growth Sectors statistics database is available at:

Scotland's Marine Economy - sectors that depend on the marine environment. Sectoral data for this topic at link below is mainly derived from SABS. http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Publications/TopicSheets/tslist/economy

Tourism in Scotland: The Economic Contribution of the Sector - this publication includes Turnover and GVA from SABS. http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0053/00534505.pdf

Scottish Enterprise – The “Scottish key economic facts April 2018” includes GVA from SABS for the Growth Sectors.

Geographical Availability

Published data are available at Local Authority area and Scotland level.


The ABS, from which the statistics are derived, covers the "non-financial business economy" and accounts for approximately two thirds of the economy.

The main sectors not covered are the financial sector & parts of agriculture and parts of the public sector. These statistics are therefore best suited to the analysis of individual industries rather than the economy as a whole.

For more information on sectors covered, please look under Coverage in the Methodology section of the website.

Quality Assurance

Scottish Annual Business Statistics is a National Statistics publication. It has been produced to the high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and the Pre-release Access to Official Statistics (Scotland) Order 2008. These statistics undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs.

In 2011, a user consultation on Scottish Annual Business Statistics was carried out by the Scottish Government and a summary of the findings are available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Business/scotstat/SABSFindingsReport

In 2012, the Scottish Annual Business Statistics publication was assessed by the United Kingdom Statistics Authority (UKSA) for compliance against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Details of the assessment are available at: Assessment Report 189 - Statistics on Scottish Businesses and Research and Development (96.4 Kb, Pdf document)

The UKSA has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

• meet identified user needs;

• are well explained and readily accessible;

• are produced according to sound methods, and

• are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

A UKSA assessment has also been carried out for the ONS Annual Business Survey statistical publications. Details of the assessment are available at:
Assessment Report 180 - Statistics from the Annual Business Survey (126.8 Kb, Pdf document)

Data Available

Breakdowns of the published data include:

  • by Local Authority area

  • by Industrial Sector
  • by Ownership

Both national level and local authority area level data tables are available at the following website: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Business/SABS

Timeliness of Data

The data are published annually based on a sample survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics.

It is the aim to publish Scottish Annual Business Statistics as soon as possible after the release of the Office for National Statistics' regional results. This means SABS figures are available approximately 18 months after the end of the calendar year to which they relate.


Data are compiled from an annual survey. Please note that when a new year's Annual Business Survey data are released, the previous year's data are revised at the same time.

For information on Quality Measures, please visit: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Business/SABS/QualityMeasures


The Scottish Annual Business Statistics publication contains data for 2008 onwards published on a SIC 2007 basis only.

SIC 2003 tables with revised 2008 data can be found under Publication and Tables Archive link on SABS website. This is the final set of tables published using SIC 2003 codes, which cover 1998-2008 data, as the Office for National Statistics are now only updating company information on a SIC 2007 basis.

Please note that the ABS survey for reference year 2007 was on a Standard Industrial Classification 2003 (SIC 2003) basis. Reference year 2008 onwards has moved to Standard Industrial Classification 2007 (SIC 2007).

The coverage of the ONS Standard Business Survey Population was expanded in 2016 to include a population of solely Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) based businesses. These businesses were included for the first time in the population for the Annual Business Survey (ABS) 2016. For more background and experimental results for 2015-16, please go to Scotland Tables (see heading Additional Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) Units).

Statistics for the UK, English Government Office Regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are available at:

Statistical Disclosure Control

Statistical disclosure control is applied to tables in order to maintain the confidentiality of the data. Values associated with local unit and enterprise group counts below a minimum threshold are suppressed. Additionally, a dominance rule identifies and suppresses any cells where a small number of enterprise groups account for the majority of the associated value of the cell. Additional cells are also suppressed to avoid disclosure by deduction.

Link to Data

Scottish data are available at the following website: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Business/SABS