Inter Departmental Business Register

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

Key Results 

  • The number of VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses operating in Northern Ireland in 2022 is estimated to have risen by 1,245 (1.6%) since 2021, to 78,885.  This marked the eighth consecutive year of increase following a period of decline from 2008 to 2014.
  • Construction businesses witnessed the largest increase from 2021, increasing by 365 businesses or 3.4%. It was also the largest number observed in this sector since 2011. The largest increase in percentage terms was in the Accommodation and food services sector, which saw an increase of 5.3% (225 businesses) on the previous year.
  • Over the 10 years since 2012, the number of businesses in the Production sector has increased by 29% (1,235), whilst Retail saw a decrease of 6.2% (405) over the same period.  Wholesale businesses saw a small decline of 0.3% (-10) over the 10 years whilst, overall, the Service sector saw an increase of 17% (6,335).
  • The geographical spread of businesses across the 11 district council areas in Northern Ireland remained relatively unchanged, with Belfast having the highest number of businesses (11,405 or 14%) and, Antrim and Newtownabbey with the least number of businesses (4,315 or 5.5%).  Antrim and Newtownabbey was also the only district council area where the number of businesses decreased over the year (45 businesses or 1.0%). 
  • Of those businesses operating in Northern Ireland, 2.5% (1,995 businesses) were owned by an enterprise registered outside of Northern Ireland.  These businesses accounted for almost one-quarter of employees. The percentage of Northern Ireland owned businesses remains unchanged (97%) since March 2021.
  • The Business Demography Northern Ireland 2021 results estimate that 6,655 businesses were newly registered on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) in Northern Ireland over the 12 months to December 2021. This amounts to a birth rate (proportion of active businesses) of 10.3%.
  • There were 5,200 business deaths in Northern Ireland in 2021, an increase of 24.6% on the previous year. The death rate increased by 1.3 pps over the year to 8.0%.
  • The number of business births was greater than the number of deaths for all district council areas across Northern Ireland in 2021, except Antrim and Newtownabbey.
  • Business birth and death rates were highest for the Transport and storage industry, and lowest in Health.
  • Northern Ireland had the highest 5-year survival rate of the four UK regions for registered businesses in 2016.

Current Publications and IDBR Tables

User Consultation

IDBR Background Information


Most recent documents

Contacts for Inter Departmental Business Register