Analysis Of The Newly-Released Official Business Data Shows The Good News

Graham Charles Lear
3 min readNov 22, 2022

The analysis of the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics demonstrates once again very clear that the desperate “Brexit isn’t working” narrative of the Rejoiner campaigns is nothing more than fake news.

The latest example is the number of active businesses in the UK, which has risen every year since the UK voted to leave the EU.

The official number of ‘active businesses in the UK, according to the ONS

Since the vote to leave the EU, the number of active businesses has increased every year

  • 2016: 2,768,000
  • 2017: 2,845,000
  • 2018: 2,841,000
  • 2019: 2,889,000
  • 2020: 2,897,000
  • 2021: 2,940,000

[Source: Office for National Statistics, 17 Nov 2022.]

Now almost 3 million active VAT/PAYE businesses in the UK — “despite Brexit”

Every year the Office for National Statistics releases data on the number of ‘active businesses in the United Kingdom.

And every year since the EU Referendum in 2016 this number has risen.

The ONS defines an active business thus

“Businesses that had either turnover or employment at any time during the reference period.

“’Business’ is used to represent an enterprise. An enterprise can be defined as the smallest combination of legal units (based on Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) records) that is an organisational unit producing goods or services, which benefits from a certain degree of autonomy in decision-making.”

Businesses come… and businesses go

It is a fact of life that businesses come and go. Some thrive and grow, and some reach the end of their lives. The most important fact I have highlighted above is that new business ‘births’ have grown at a faster rate than business ‘deaths’ since the British people voted to leave the EU.

  • In 2021 UK business births increased from 333,000 to 364,000
  • This represents a birth rate of 12.4% in 2021, compared with 11.5% in 2020

[Source: Office for National Statistics, 17 Nov 2022.]

The regional factor — Nicola Sturgeon’s Scotland did not do well

Next, I looked at the UK regions which are doing best for new businesses. Almost every region is doing well.

Top of the list was the West Midlands. At the Bottom was Nicola Sturgeon’s Scotland.

Its business birth’ rate was marginally higher than Northern Ireland’s, but ‘business deaths’ were higher than ‘business births’.

In net terms, SNP Scotland’s number of active businesses decreased.

Increase in active UK businesses last year — by region

  • West Midlands: 14.2%
  • London: 14.1%
  • North West: 13.4%
  • Wales: 13.2%
  • North East: 13.0%
  • UK national average: 12.4%
  • Yorkshire and The Humber: 12.3%
  • East Midlands: 11.8%
  • East: 11.4%
  • South West: 10.9%
  • South East: 10.8%
  • Scotland: 10.7%
  • Northern Ireland: 10.3%

[Source: Office for National Statistics, 17 Nov 2022.]

Business survival rates — Northern Ireland tops the table

Northern Ireland might have seen the lowest increase in business births in 2021, (even at a highly creditable +10.3%), but it tops the list when it comes to the 5-year survival rates.

The region with the highest five-year survival rate was Northern Ireland at 47.3%.

The survival rates show the percentage of businesses that survived into 2021 five years after their birth. Northern Ireland replaces the South West, which had previously shown the highest five-year business survival rate since 2012.

Yes, Brexit Britain IS working

Once again the hard facts have I revealed put a sword to the persistent negativism of the Rejoiner campaigns and the BBC about the effect of Brexit on the United Kingdom.

Business start-ups are vital to any economy and are an indication of business confidence overall. Owners of businesses have to make major sacrifices and take huge risks when starting a new business, often putting their own homes on the line.

The analysis reveals that not only have the numbers been maintained, but they have also actually increased year-on-year since the British people voted to leave the European Union.

Naturally, this has not been reported by the Rejoiner BBC, but then what would you expect?

Sources: ONS



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.