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The number of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK has reached record levels, according to new government figures.

There are now as many as 4.9 million businesses of this kind in the country, which collectively employ 14.4 million people and play an increasingly prominent role in the broader economy.

Indeed, they boast a combined turnover of £1.6 billion, which is mightily impressive considering the turnover for all UK businesses amounts to £3.3 billion.

The government observed that the new record for private sector businesses can be attributed to the 102,000 businesses over the last 12 months.

Reflecting on the figures, business secretary Vince Cable said that they should act as a reminder to those Brits who are currently deciding whether to launch their own firm.

The optimistic outlook has been reflected by Matt Hancock, the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, who observed that the broader economy is on the road to recovery and this is having a welcome impact on the country’s business community. “Britain is turning a corner with a record 4.9 million businesses now trading across the country. There are now around 400,000 more businesses than in 2010, an increase of nine per cent,” Mr Hancock remarked.

“There is much more to do, not least to make it easier to employ people and create jobs, like with the new £2,000 Employment Allowance that from April will cut tax on jobs in every company, large and small,” he added.

The government, for its part, has introduced or is set to introduce a number of new measures as a means of stimulating activity among the UK’s small business community.

In April 2014, for instance, businesses will benefit from a £2,000 Employment Allowance discount off their National Insurance bill, which will, effectively, remove the tax on jobs for around 450,000 small firms.

The overarching ambition behind such moves is to help make the UK the best place to start a new business.