chapter  17
33 Pages

United Kingdom


The UK belongs to the group of countries whose economic structure is skewed towards large fi rms (Table 2.1). Closer consideration shows that the UK has a below average spread of micro fi rms, and an above average spread of small and medium fi rms, compared to both the EU-15 average and the group characterized by the predominance of large fi rms. In each of the SME categories, the share of employment they represent is substantially less than the EU-15 average and this group. Overall, SMEs therefore make signifi cantly less contribution to UK employment than the average for the EU as a whole. Conversely, the UK is relatively more dependent upon larger companies for employment levels than the EU-15 as a whole. As regards Europe’s 500 largest businesses, the UK comes second after France in terms of both the number of such companies and their employees. In this respect, the smaller countries belonging to the group recording an above average number of large fi rms surpass the country in terms of relative fi gures. However, the employment proportion of the UK’s large fi rms exceeds the level of any other country of this group.