Family run firms set to contribute £218bn to UK plc

Mark Suthern, Head of Business Banking, Barclays Eastern Region Mark Suthern, Head of Business Banking, Barclays Eastern Region

Shaun Lowthorpe Business editor shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk
Friday, April 18, 2014
9:00 AM

The value of family run businesses to UK plc has been underscored by a new report which predicts that they are set to contribute £218bn a year to the economy by 2018.

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Norfolk has around 20,000 family-owned businesses many of which are long established enterprises.

But a report, ‘the Family Affair’ by Barclays Business and CEBR (Centre for Economics and Business Research), noted a growth in new kids on the block adding that the contribution made by first generation family firms was set to from £180bn by £38bn in the next five years.

The study added that the value of family SMEs taken as a group to the British economy is currently greater than that of the overall manufacturing and wholesale or retail sectors – underscoring how vital these businesses were to the economy.

First-generation family SMEs - defined as those that have been under the control of the family for one generation - currently provide 5.5 million jobs equivalent to the number of jobs in the public sector and this was seet to increase by 9pc to six million.

The report found that there are currently 2.42 million first generation family SMEs in the UK – the highest number since the recession took hold in 2008, when the figure stood at 2.45 million. The number of family SMEs has increased over the past three years, up from 2.32 million in 2011. That number will rise further – to 2.65 million by 2018.

Mark Suthern, Head of Business Banking, Barclays Eastern Region said: “One in five of our business customers are family SMEs and we have seen a real increase over the last twelve months in the number of family businesses coming to us for support, especially in East of England, mainly to help expand and achieve growth. These have been in varying sectors and sizes, from manufacturers and hotels, to restaurants. We believe the end of the recession is paving the way for dynamic family firms who want to run businesses they are passionate about, and we want to help them achieve those ambitions.”

He added: “Family SMEs play a powerful role in the UK economy and one that is set to increase if they have the right access to support and funding.

“We currently work with over 130,000 family run businesses, 22% of which are in East of England, so we have built up a great deal of expertise in guiding them through their growth phases. Whether they aspire to become a household name like J Sainsbury or Arcadia or simply to provide a strong income for their own family, they offer the country value through both their economic contribution as well as their employment opportunities.”

Barclays Business said it saw an 8pc increase in term lending to family firms in 2013. During the last year these businesses drew down nearly £900m of new or increased funding.

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