§ Mr. Harry Greenway
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many small businesses were started up in the last year; how many were closed; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Forth
The best available guide to trends in numbers of businesses comes from VAT data. Early indications are that there was a net increase of around 800 a week in 1990 in the number of businesses registered for VAT. While rather slower than the record rate of increase in 1989, this was nevertheless greater than the average rate of increase during the 1980s.