Number of SMEs in the construction sector crosses one million

The number of SMEs in the construction sector has broken through the one million mark, signalling an optimistic outlook.

The number of SMEs operating in the construction sector across the UK has increased by 32,000 in the last year, meaning there is now over one million of them, according to analysis of new government data by cloud accounting software provider, Clear Books.

The latest set of government business population estimates, shows the amount of construction companies with less than 50 employees has increased to over 1,005,290, up from 972,475 in 2016. The data also indicates that these same SMEs are responsible for turning over around £185 billion a year, up from £172 billion in 2016. The total turnover of all businesses operating in the construction sector reached £296.8 billion in 2017, up from £271.9 billion in 2016.

Clear Books CEO Phil Sayers said, “There are around 5.5 million small businesses in the UK and the fact that construction firms account for one million of them is indicative of how essential it is for policymakers to ensure SME construction firms continue to thrive. Be it a family-run construction business or high-growth housebuilder, SMEs play a huge role in society, acting as vital job creators but also contributing a significant amount to overall economic activity. Their role as essential service providers and genuine hubs in local communities and further afield is hugely valuable. Policymakers must ensure that small businesses are supported – their success and survival, in equal measure, is absolutely essential.”

The analysis is based on the latest set of government business population estimates for the UK, published on 30 November 2017. Business population estimates for the UK and regions provides the only official estimate of the total number of private sector businesses in the UK at the start of each year. These estimates produced by BEIS cover a wider range of businesses than Office for National Statistics (ONS) outputs, which report on VAT traders and PAYE employers.

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