The indicator measures the total number of VAT/PAYE registered private sector enterprises operating in Scotland per 10,000 adults. The figure includes all private sector registered enterprises that operate in Scotland regardless of where the business is based.


This indicator uses the registered enterprise count, as published in the Scottish Government publication Businesses in Scotland. The Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) provides the number of enterprises registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) in Scotland. An IDBR extract from March each year is taken to derive the count of registered enterprises operating in Scotland.

The population estimates used to form the rates are sourced from the Mid-Year Population Estimates, published by the National Records of Scotland.

Note that the business stock rates for 2022 and 2023 use the latest business counts as at March 2022 and March 2023 respectively. However, the 2021 mid-year population estimates have been used to calculate the business stock rates for 2022 and 2023. The rates for 2022 and 2023 will be revised when the 2022 and 2023 mid-year population estimates are published.


An enterprise is the term used to refer to a company or business. A large supermarket chain is considered to be one 'enterprise'. Each individual store that forms part of this supermarket chain is known as a 'business site'.

Private sector enterprises are companies, sole traders, partnerships, public corporations/nationalised bodies and not for profit organisations. This is distinct from central and local government.

An enterprise is considered to be operating in Scotland if it has a business site in Scotland regardless of where the enterprise is based or registered.

Per 10,000 adults is defined as people aged 16 or over resident in Scotland.

Criteria for Change

The evaluation is based on:

  • any difference within +/- 2 businesses per 10,000 adults suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change.
  • an increase of 3 businesses per 10,000 adults or more suggests the position is improving;
  • whereas a decrease of 3 businesses per 10,000 adults or more suggests the position is worsening.

Future issues or reviews

Note that the 2022 and 2023 business stock rates are provisional and will be updated once new population estimates are published.

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