To celebrate a second successful Family Business Week, on 20th December MPs from across the House debated the contribution of family businesses to the UK economy and to communities throughout the UK in Westminster Hall.
The debate, which was secured by APPG for Family Business Chair John Stevenson MP, saw MPs highlight businesses from their local communities, as well as talking about the important contribution firms make, and highlighting challenges facing businesses at the moment.
Importance of the family businesses sector:
- Dr Lisa Cameron MP said family businesses are the bedrock of our local economies and asked ‘Does the Minister “agree that, with the correct package of support, financial innovation, contribution and development from the Government, family businesses can become iconic and international successes?”
- John Stevenson MP echoed this, adding that “Family businesses are clearly the backbone of local economies up and down the country as well as nationally’. He later suggested in the debate, ‘family businesses provide an extra layer of benefit in terms not of the economy but of the community. Family businesses are often embedded in their community.”
- Jamie Stone MP reiterated this sentiment, saying: “The local contribution of family businesses is crucial. They tend to use the local bank. They mostly use a local solicitor, [and] a local estate agent.”
- Kevin Foster MP warned that “without family businesses, we would all be poorer, not only in the sense of the jobs and economic activity they create, but in the sense of the social responsibility that many show simply by wanting their businesses to be positive parts of the communities they are proud to call home.”
Celebrating family businesses:
- Jim Shannon MP shared that “when an enterprise is built on familial lines, people are more likely to put in extra hours and go the extra mile to ensure success, and the stability of the family structure has been pivotal for long-term family professions.”
Investing In Family Businesses
- Jim Shannon MP proclaimed that ‘”the support provided by the public to keep these enterprises open is incredibly important, and we do our best to help and support all the businesses that make our economy what it is today.”
- Wendy Morton MP called for government to ‘invest more in [family businesses]… adding that: “not everybody will be a scientist or a researcher. We need manufacturers and family businesses… if we grow our family businesses, they can invest in their business and their skills base, and that is what creates the jobs of the future.”
- Seema Malhotra’s recommendations for government support of family businesses were as follows: “we need to deliver macroeconomic stability, and respect our institutions, such as the Office for Budget Responsibility. We need to make importing and exporting easier. We should also have a proper industrial strategy, backed by ambitious investment, that makes decisions for the long term. We also need a plan for reform of business rates, because so many businesses are concerned about the unfairness of business rates.”