§ Mr. Norman
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many technology business start-ups there were in each year since 1995. 
§ Nigel Griffiths
DTI figures based solely on VAT registrations in technology industries are shown as follows for the period 1995 to 2002. Data for 2003 will be available in Autumn 2004.
UK VAT registrations: 1995–2002 Technology industries 1995 17,315 1996 20,410 1997 26,740 1998 30,600 1999 22,220 2000 23,755 2001 19,180 2002 15,860 Source: Business Start-ups and Closures; VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994–2002; Small Business Service, www.sbs.gov.uk/analytical/statistics/ vatstats. php
VAT registrations and de-registrations do not capture all start-up activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1995. Similarly, businesses that de-register will not necessarily have closed. Only 1.8 million out of 3.8 million enterprises were registered for VAT at the start of 2002.