SMEs in the private sector


The usual definition of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is any business with fewer than 250 employees. 

In 2017, there were 5.7 million businesses in the UK. • Over 99% of businesses are Small or Medium Sized businesses – employing 0-249 people • 5.5 million (96%) businesses were micro-businesses – employing 0-9 people. Micro-businesses accounted for 33% of employment and 22% of turnover. • In London, there were 1,519 businesses per 10,000 resident adults. In the North East there were 657 per 10,000 resident adults. • The service industries accounted for 74% of businesses, 79% of employment and 71% of turnover. • The manufacturing sector accounted for 5% of businesses, 10% of employment and 15% of turnover. • There were 414,000 business births and 328,000 business deaths in 2015. • 21% of SMEs are female-led, and in 28% of FTSE100 board members were female. Briefing Paper- Business Statistics- House of Commons .

Despite them being critical to our economy, reports show that SMEs are being under-served when it comes to legal help and advice:

  • Less than 15% of SMEs believe lawyers offer cost effective legal solutions.
  • SMEs do not take legal advice in relation to 70% of issues requiring it. 
  • 46% of SMEs say that unaddressed legal issues had had a tangible adverse impact on their business.
  • Less than 15% of SMEs believe solicitors offer cost-effective legal solutions.

Do your members fall within the SME category? 

Source: Law Society Gazette- The SME legal services market 10th June 2014