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 is estimated to have risen by 810 (1.0%) to 80,045.  This marked the tenth consecutive year of increase following a period of decline from 2008 to 2014.
  • The number of businesses in the Construction sector (11,375) is the highest it has been since 2010. The Service sector, which remained the largest in Northern Ireland, accounted for 55% of all businesses and grew slightly by 0.9% (395) over the year to March 2024.  The number of businesses within Production saw a decline for the second consecutive year, falling slightly by 0.5% (30 businesses).
  • The geographical spread of businesses across the 11 district council areas remained relatively unchanged, with Belfast (14%) making up the highest proportion and, Antrim and Newtownabbey (5.4%) the lowest. 
  • Mid Ulster saw the largest increase in the actual number of registered businesses operating in the area (175 or 1.8%) over the year to 2024, whilst Lisburn and Castlereagh saw the largest decrease (85 or 1.6%) over the same period.
  • Of the 80,045 businesses operating in Northern Ireland, 2.8% (2,270 businesses) were owned by an enterprise registered outside of Northern Ireland.  These businesses accounted for one-quarter of employees. The number of non-locally owned businesses operating in Northern Ireland has increased by one-fifth over the five years since 2019. The comparable number of employees increased by 10%.
  • The Business Demography Northern Ireland 2022 results estimate that 5,385 businesses were newly registered on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) in Northern Ireland over the 12 months to December 2022. This amounts to a birth rate (proportion of active businesses) of 8.3%.
  • There were were 5,290 business deaths in Northern Ireland in 2022, which is an increase of 4.3% on the previous year. This amounts to a death rate of 8.2%.
  • The number of business births was greater than the number of deaths for seven district council areas across Northern Ireland in 2022, with Antrim and Newtownabbey, Ards and North Down, Causeway Coast and Glens, and Mid and East Antrim the exceptions.
  • Business birth and death rates were highest for the Transport and storage industry, and lowest in Health.
  • In the UK, the business death rate (11.8%) was higher than the business birth rate (11.5%) in 2022, which is the first time this has happened since 2010.
  • Northern Ireland had the highest 5-year survival rate of the four UK regions for registered businesses in 2017.

Current Publications and IDBR Tables

User Consultation

IDBR Background Information


Most recent documents

Contacts for Inter Departmental Business Register