Law and accountancy practices employed nearly 700,000 people across the UK last year – equating to 2.2 per cent of the country’s total workforce, a report discloses today.
The professions’ contribution to the exchequer was even greater, with the researchers claiming that legal and accounting services accounted for £15.5 billion in taxes, 2.5 per cent of the treasury’s total receipts.
Most of the firms in those professions were also small businesses, said the report from The City UK, a lobbying organisation for the Square Mile. It claimed that 99 per cent of legal and accountancy firms had fewer than 99 employees. Most of those firms were in the accountancy profession, with the report finding that there were nearly 60,500 practices across the UK. It is estimated that there are about 10,000 law firms in England and Wales.
The report, which was produced for The City UK by the “big four” accountancy practice PwC, found that the collectively the two profession employed 693,000 in the UK. In addition, 23 per cent of all those employed in the legal and accountancy sectors in the entire EU are based in the UK. Germany, France, Spain and Italy had the next biggest contingents of those employed by law and accountancy firms.
Miles Celic, chief executive of The City UK, said: “The legal and accounting sector make a considerable contribution to the UK economy in their own right.” He went on to claim that lawyers and accountants were “an essential part of the world-leading financial and professional services ecosystem” in the City.
“The UK is the leading global hub for legal and accounting expertise and it is vital that we not only preserve that, but we continue to grow it,” said Celic. “This expertise isn’t just located in London. Right across the UK, centres of excellence, including Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh, are adding value to the UK economy. These are also the areas we expect to see the most growth in the coming years as we move through Brexit and beyond.”