Family firms account for 77 per cent of private retail and wholesale businesses in the UK, according to research released today.
The Institute for Family Business (IFB) published a detailed report into the family business sector entitled ‘The UK Family Business Sector: Working to grow the UK economy’, revealing that a total of 383,567 retail companies are now family run - the third highest concentration of family businesses in any sector.
A number of retailers are family run, such as fashion group Primark, which is owned by Associated British Foods, as well as Wilkinson Hardware stores, which is represented by the IFB.
The sector generates revenues of £1.1 trillion a year and provides two out of every five private sector jobs, contributing an estimated £81.7 billion in tax receipts to the UK Exchequer, 14 per cent of total government revenues in 2010.
Boosting enterprise for family-owned businesses must be a priority in order to improve the economy and the retail sector, according to IFB, which is today calling on the government to implement a number of changes.
Removing discrimination in the tax system that penalises family firms is a necessity, it says, as well as cutting red tape and bureaucracy around employment legislation and working with family firms to plan for the future and secure jobs.
Grant Gordon, Director General of the IFB, said that these changes are essential for future growth and for creating a better environment for family businesses to thrive in retail.
“Family businesses are unique,” he commented.
“They offer the economy the benefit of a long-term perspective, and a desire to create successful businesses that are passed down through generations. We want the government to make changes that will promote family business entrepreneurship and make a significant difference to the retail and wholesale sectors.”
Succession planning is also required and the IFB believes the government ought to support owners’ strategies in this area, as the most successful family businesses plan ahead for generations to come, often putting long-term stewardship ahead of short-term business goals.
Supporting these owners could help secure more retail jobs, according to the company and Gordon added: “Times are tough, and we’re not asking for special treatment, just a level playing field that means family firms can go on running successful businesses which provide jobs to millions of people in the UK.”