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UK business income growth slows in 2015 but remains above 2010 levels

  • Year-on-year SME annual income growth up 4% but slowed since 2014 height
  • Total annual income 24% higher than 2010
  • UK construction and real estate sectors strongest as property boom continues
  • London saw highest growth followed by North West and East England


UK businesses have seen a 24% rise in annual income growth since 2010[1], according to the latest Barclays SME Income Index


Analysis of the current account levels of Barclays small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2015 showed that year-on-year, the annual growth rate of business income has slowed, from a high of 8% in 2014, to 4%[2]. Last year’s annual growth rate of 8% was the biggest in 14 years. Yet with some annual income growth having occurred in 2015 SMEs are projected to continue to experience growth in 2016.


The strongest performing business sectors for annual income growth in 2015 include real estate and construction as the UK’s property boom continues. Construction has risen to first place in the Index for highest credit income, from third in 2014. The Real Estate sector dipped from top position to second place while the Arts moved from seventh to third and transport from eleventh to fourth. Positive annual income growth was achieved across all sectors, bar agriculture and education.


Encouragingly growth occurred across all regions for England and Wales. The region with highest annual income growth was London (5.2%) followed by the North-West (4.7%), up from fourth position to second. Rising from eighth to third place is new entrant to the top four, the East Midlands (4.4%). East England (4%) is in fourth position, falling from third place last year.


Adam Rowse, Head of Business Banking at Barclays commented: “2014’s credit income growth rate was exceptionally high and the biggest since the turn of the century so 2015’s growth rate of 4% is still an indicator of a thriving year for UK businesses.

It is understandable that construction and real estate are the sectors with the biggest annual income growth as the UK property sector continues to boom. It is encouraging to see that all regions saw a rise in annual income growth, with northern and southern regions equally represented in the top four, a positive indicator of the strength of SMEs all over the UK.”



Notes to editors

  1. 2010 base for income growth is 109.8 whilst 2015’s is 136.4; 136.4-109.8=26.6; 26.6/109.8= 0.242; 0.242*100 = 24%. For full details of all bases referred to in this release go to point five in Notes to Editors


  2. 2015 and 2014 base for income growth is 136.4 and 131.2 respectively. 136.4-131.2=5.2; 5.2/131.2=0.396; 0.369*100, and rounded to the nearest one = 4%. For full details of all bases referred to in this release go to point five in Notes to Editors.


  3. The Barclays SME Income Index has a base value of 100, equivalent to the average quarterly income in 2000. The Index at selected dates included in this release was:


    • 2010: 109.8
    • 2014: 131.2
    • 2015: 136.4


  4. Barclays’ data tracks the total level of income (credit turnover) paid to more than 700,000 SME business customers with turnover of less than £25m. This data is based on the monthly income (credit turnover) received by SME current account customers. The data is adjusted twice - first to allow for seasonal fluctuations in income patterns and second to smooth out short-term income fluctuations.


  5. Data for Q4 2015 is projected and is based on the credit income performance of earlier in the year.


  6. Income (credit turnover) is defined as: The value of payments into the current accounts of Barclays small business customers. This reflects the strength of cashflow to the business population and the resources available to them. It is also closely correlated with official measures of economic activity.


  7. Annual Income Growth is defined as: The rate of growth between the total level of annual income between different years.

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