Businesses in Scotland 2017

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Statistics News


November 8, 2017


 Scotland’s business stock hits series high.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released Businesses in Scotland 2017.

The main findings are:

As at March 2017, there were an estimated 365,600 private sector enterprises operating in Scotland - the highest figure since the time series began (in 2000).

Between March 2016 and March 2017, the estimated number of enterprises increased by 3.1% (11,110 enterprises).

The increase over the latest year was driven by a rise in the number of unregistered businesses, the smallest sole traders and partnerships that are not registered for VAT/PAYE. Unregistered businesses are up by 4.8 per cent from 180,500 in 2016 to 189,200 in 2017.

The number of VAT/PAYE registered businesses has increased - up by 2,405 (1.4%) from 173,995 in 2016 to 176,400 in 2017 – similarly the highest figure since the time series began (in 2000).

As at March 2017, there were 363,235 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) operating in Scotland, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs. SMEs accounted for 99.4% of all private sector enterprises and accounted for 55.0% of private sector employment and 40.1% of private sector turnover.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


 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 (£83,000 as at March 2017).

The estimates include businesses that operate in Scotland irrespective of whether their main UK base is in Scotland or elsewhere. Businesses are classified by employee size bands based on the number of their total UK employees.

 The full statistical publication is available at


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