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Review of Statistics on Small Businesses – Progress Report - SESCG 4-2-2004

DescriptionPaper SESCG 4-2-2004 on Review of Statistics on Small Businesses – Progress Report
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateFebruary 03, 2005

Review of Statistics on Small Businesses - Progress Report - SESCG 4-2-2004

1. Scottish Executive statistics on small businesses are sourced from administrative systems and surveys. Data on the start-up and closure of businesses are of particular interest. The following sources are mainly used:

For monitoring targets on business start ups:

· VAT registrations

For providing further analytical detail, develop and monitor policies:

· IDBR data reported annually in Scottish Economic Statistics (also including data on growth).

· Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

· Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers' data on new business accounts

· A range of sample surveys documented in the 2003 edition of SES.

2. These sources have a number of drawbacks:

· The current administrative sources do not cover very small businesses

· The administrative sources do not contain personal details of the entrepreneur such as gender, ethnic background, other/previous entrepreneurial activity

· The survey sources do not allow tracking of firms over time

· The sample sizes of the surveys only support limited disaggregation.

3. The Scottish Executive therefore participates in a review of statistics on Small Businesses chaired by the DTI to "make recommendations to Ministers for improving the quality and accessibility of small business statistics, particularly data on business start-ups". The review hopes to report in Spring 2005 and may bid for funding from the Allsopp Review to implement some of its recommendations.

4. The review is currently pursuing the following avenues:

· National Insurance records held by the Department of Work and Pensions - these identify people moving into self employment. Initially the use of a 1% sample from NIRS2 is being investigated.

· Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (DWP) - to identify people moving into self-employment

· Inland Revenue Self Assessments

· Supporting the British Bankers' Association with starting a data series on new business bank accounts at UK level

· Improvements to Labour Force Survey definitions, questions or analysis to gather more accurate data on flows into self employment

· General data improvements: development of data on takeovers and mergers, better data to estimate the number of businesses from the number of self- employed.

Gerhard Mors

Scottish Executive ETLLD/ASD

12 November 2004