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.

Key Results 

  • The number of VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses operating in Northern Ireland in 2021 is estimated to have risen by 1,550 (2.0%) since 2020 to 77,640.  This marked the seventh consecutive year of increase following a period of decline from 2008 to 2014, and is the highest annual increase since 2018.
  • Transport & storage (including postal) businesses witnessed the largest increase since 2020, increasing by 435 businesses or 15%.  These businesses also accounted for 28% of the total increase in business registrations across Northern Ireland, which can be largely attributed to the growing demand for delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Over the 10 years since 2011, the number of businesses in the Production sector has increased by 25% (1,100 businesses) while Construction saw a small decrease of 1.1% (125 businesses).  Retail businesses saw a decline of 8.8% (-580 businesses) over the 10 years while, overall, the Services sector saw an increase of 15%.
  • The geographical spread of businesses across the 11 district council areas in Northern Ireland remained relatively unchanged and all areas saw an increase in the business population over the year.  Of the overall annual growth, 15% was in Belfast compared with 60% in 2020.
  • Of those businesses operating in Northern Ireland, 2.5% (1,970 businesses) were owned by an enterprise registered outside of Northern Ireland.  These businesses accounted for almost one quarter of employees.
  • The Business Demography Northern Ireland 2019 results estimate that a total of 6,625 businesses were newly registered on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) in Northern Ireland over the year to December 2019. This amounts to a birth rate (proportion of active businesses) of 10.4%.
  • Estimates show that there were 5,765 business deaths (businesses deregistered from the IDBR) in Northern Ireland over the year to December 2019. This is an increase of 1,385 businesses on the previous year and amounts to a death rate of 9.0%.
  • Northern Ireland births and deaths each account for 1.7% of the total UK births and deaths.

Current Publications and IDBR Tables

User Consultation

IDBR Background Information


Most recent documents

Contacts for Inter Departmental Business Register