§ Mr. Eggar
[holding answer 14 February 1990]: In 1988, the latest year for which figures have been published by my Department. the net increase in the number of VAT-registered businesses was 64,000, an average of just over 1,200 per week. This was the net result of 230,000 new registrations and 166,000 deregistrations. Early indications from data collected by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise are that there was a net increase of some 80,000 in 1989, or 1,500 per week on average.