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West Midlands family businesses launch manifesto aimed at government

22 April 2024
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Business from across the West Midlands are urging mayoral and local election candidates to back Family Business UK’s first ever manifesto.

Taking The Long-Term View which lists “policies to unleash the potential of UK family business sector”, has received support from business leaders including Steve Rigby, Co-CEO of the multinational West Midlands-based Rigby Group.

A number of family businesses based in the Midlands are members of Family Business UK, including Rigby Group, Everards Brewery Samworth Brothers, the Bennie Group, Weatherby’s Park and AF Blakemore & Son.

The Manifesto launch comes after a survey of FBUK members showed a majority of family businesses surveyed think the Government is not doing enough to help support businesses with long-term investment planning.

The survey, conducted with the Family Business UK membership - made up of some of the largest family businesses, including household names and global companies - found that a significant majority of members felt that the Government has been too focused on addressing short-term issues and wasn’t doing enough to provide stability for family businesses by delivering a long-term strategy.

Overall, a majority of family businesses were looking to increase their investments over the next five years. The survey also found that family firms said not having access to the right skills was one of the major barriers they currently face, and that the apprenticeship levy needed completely overhauling and reforming.

These insights have helped inform the new recommendations of the first-ever Manifesto by Family Business UK. The document sets out a list of key policy recommendations that can provide “enormous potential of the family business sector to support economic growth, family businesses, their workforce, and society at large”.

Chief Executive of Family Business UK, Neil Davy, said the Government has a clear opportunity to unlock the potential of the family business sector and that focusing on the following policy areas will help stimulate and sustain economic growth and prosperity and build healthy communities.

People: Policymakers and business must come together to help family firms to get the best out of their people through investing in skills and opportunities for local communities by:

· Replacing the Apprenticeship Levy with a Future Skills Fund

· Allowing more flexibility on how businesses use the fund for skills

· Removing barriers on spending between home nations

· Encouraging upskilling and career long learning

Chief Executive of Family Business UK, Neil Davy, said: “In the UK, we are sitting on an enormous resource of entrepreneurialism in the form of our family business sector. Family businesses make up 90 per cent of the UK’s total private sector firms, employing 14 million people and contributing over £200 billion through tax receipts each year alone.

“This manifesto represents our offer to policymakers, informed by the UK’s family business community and their everyday experience of doing business in helping to solve the big challenges of today and tomorrow.

“If implemented, they will unleash the enormous potential of the family business sector to support economic growth through responsible business practices that benefit the family business, their workforce, and society at large.”


Stephen Emerson is the Managing Editor of The Business Magazine and is responsible for the publication's print publications and online properties including the newly launched Biz News websites in Hampshire and Dorset.

Stephen has been a journalist for 20 years and has worked at local, regional and national publications and led a team which made The Scotsman website one of the fastest growing news sites in the UK with over eight million monthly users.

He has a keen interest in technology, property and corporate finance and telling the stories of the people behind the successful firms in these sectors.

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