Inter Departmental Business Register

Details and background of the IDBR, which contains information on all businesses in the UK which are VAT registered or operating a PAYE scheme.


Latest Results – Published 31 January 2018

  • The number of VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses operating in Northern Ireland in 2017 is estimated to have risen by 1,560 (2.2%) since 2016 to 71,615. This marks the third consecutive year of increase following a period of decline from 2008 to 2014.
  • The increase in the number of businesses in Northern Ireland over the year was lower than that of the UK (4.5%).
  • The largest increases in the number of businesses since 2016 were in Construction (+355) and Production (+260) whilst the only decreases were in Wholesale (-60), Retail (-10) and Health (-5).
  • Both Construction and Retail have experienced large declines since 2009. Construction has experienced the largest decrease of all industries since 2009 in terms of absolute number of businesses (-2,590). The Retail industry remains 11% (760 businesses) smaller than in 2009.
  • The largest increases since 2009 have been in Agriculture, forestry and fishing (+1,480 businesses or 9%); Professional, scientific and technical (+760 businesses or 16%) and Information and Communication (+525 businesses or 39%).
  • In 2016 (latest available business demography data), Northern Ireland had the lowest business birth rate (10.2%) and death rate (9.2%) of all UK regions. Northern Ireland saw the largest increase in its birth rate from 2015 (+0.5 percentage points), whilst the birth rate in Scotland decreased (-0.1 percentage points) over the year. Northern Ireland experienced the largest increase in death rates since 2015 (+1.5 percentage points). This follows a period of declining death rates in Northern Ireland since 2012; however all UK regions saw an increase in death rates in 2016 in comparison with 2015.
  • Of the 71,615 businesses operating in Northern Ireland in March 2017, 2.3% were non-Northern Ireland owned. However, these businesses accounted for almost one quarter (23.6%) of Northern Ireland employees.

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