Department for Business, Energy &
1 Victoria Street
Ms Laura Hampton
T +44 (0)20 7215 5000 - Public enquiries
+44 (0)20 7215 6740 - Textphone (for
those with hearing impairment)
24 November 2017
Dear Ms Laura Hampton,
Thank you for your email of 30 October where you requested the following information:
Dear Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, I would like some information on micro-businesses in the UK. A micro-business is a business
that employs fewer than 10 people and an annual turnover which does not exceed £2 million.
I would like to know:
- Total number of micro-businesses in each region of the UK
- Total turnover of micro-businesses in each region of the UK
- Total number of micro-businesses by SIC code in each region of the UK
I would like to see this data for each year 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (or without the latter if the
latter is not yet available).
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ('the Act'), you have the right to:
know whether we hold the information you require
be provided with that information (subject to any exemptions under the Act which may
The Department does not hold information on businesses that both employ fewer than 10
people and have an annual turnover which does not exceed £2 million. However, I can confirm
that some the information you have requested is already in the public domain and is therefore
exempt under Section 21 of the Act as we are not required to provide information which is already
reasonably accessible to you. The aggregate number and turnover of businesses that employ
fewer than 10 people are published annually in the Department’s Business Population
The requested figures can be found at the following links:
Total number of micro-businesses in each region of the UK in each year can be found in
tab labelled ‘Regional Time-series’ in the latest release.
Total turnover of micro-businesses in each region of the UK and Total number of micro-
businesses by SIC code in each region of the UK can be found in the tabs labelled with
then name of the region in each release.
The information for 2017 is being withheld as exempt under Section 22 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (the Act). Section 22(1) provides that information is exempt if –
a) The information is held by a public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any
other person, at some future date (whether determined or not).
b) It is reasonable in all circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until
the date referred to in paragraph a.
Section 22 is a qualified exemption and we have considered whether the balance of the public
interest favours maintaining the exemption in section 22(1) or disclosing the information.
There is a public interest in transparency being demonstrated by public authorities releasing
information to the public. We understand that government transparency increases public trust and it
is beneficial for the public to be kept informed about key matters which affect them.
As we already intend to release the information, the public interest test we have to consider is
whether greater public interest in releasing the requested information to the public at large in an
organised and efficient manner (through publishing), or releasing it to individuals as it is requested.
There is a strong public interest in ensuring that the process is conducted effectively, and in a
manner which allows the Government to simultaneously address the need for releasing information
alongside their normal departmental work. The timing of publication is also important as it is key not
to jeopardise the longer-term value of the information in question by, in this case, publishing the list
in an FOI prematurely rather than as planned on the Government website in due course.
2017 figures will be available on the 30th November at - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/announcements/business-population-estimates-2017 Appeals procedure
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal
review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of
the response to your original request and should be addressed to the Information Rights Unit:
Information Rights Unit
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1 Victoria Street
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Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly
to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Information Rights Unit
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